By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
The formula has been consistent throughout the season: attack the ball on offense, play aggressive defense, rely on stingy goalkeeping.
The Minnesota State women's soccer team excelled in all three facets again on Halloween day, recording a 5-0 shutout over Minnesota Duluth at The Pitch. The win came in the quarterfinals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament, improving the Mavericks record
“I think from the start we knew what we wanted to get done this season,” senior defender Lauren Somers said. “We wanted to play at a high level, and we’ve been pretty consistent.
“We’ve only given up seven goals in 19 games, and I think there was only one game where we allowed more than goal. It’s been a solid team effort all season.”
MSU coach Peter McGahey agreed: “Of course you want to improve during the season, and we’ve done that, but the players wanted to start strong this year. We returned a lot of players who know what it takes to play at this level, and they’ve embraced everything we’re trying to do.”
Senior forward Nicole Dooher scored the game-winning goal at the 17:30 mark. She headed a corner kick from senior midfielder Cassie Weik past UMD keeper Marissa Rosa for a 1-0 lead.
Dooher then set up the second goal, sending a pass to junior midfielder Tori Meinhardt, who turned it into a score in the 21st minute. Before the half expired, the Mavericks went up 3-0 as sophomore mid Emily Moris took a pass from senior Brianne West and buried it into the back of the net.
Freshman Korey Kronforst took over the scoring in the second half. The first-year forward put in a rebound at the 46:56 mark and then found the net off a cross from sophomore Breanna Steele at 81:48. MSU ended up outshooting the Bulldogs 10-6.
It may be Kronforst’s first season with the Mavericks, but she’s not surprised at the team’s success.
“There were a lot of players here already who have been working toward this,” she said. “I’m just glad I could come in and help out. We have fun, but it was a pretty no-nonsense attitude from the first day of practice.”
McGahey believes the 5-0 win not only sends a message to the other teams in the tournament but also sets the tone for his squad.
“It’s sort of like `well, they did it during the regular season, and now theyrre doing it in the tournament, too.’ It was a nice performance by our players; it was a spooktacular effort.”