The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 16, 2012

MSU downs Central Missouri to reach Elite 8

GRAND VALLEY, MICH. — Ashley Sykora’s goal at the end of the shootout was the game-winner on Friday as the Minnesota State women’s soccer team defeated Central Missouri to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II national tournament.

The teams played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two 10-minute overtimes before the Mavericks won the shootout 5-4.

Sophomore goalie Molly McGough made the key save in the shootout, stopping Samantha Wilke’s attempt with her right foot to leave MSU holding a 4-3 lead. MSU’s Brianne West followed with a goal past keeper Morgan Hartzler before Central Missouri’s Nicki Wisnacky countered with a score to knot the shootout at 4. Sykora then put in the decisive goal to advance MSU into the quarterfinals.

The triumph avenged a 3-0 loss to Central Missouri early in the season and gave the Mavericks their first central region championship in school history. MSU is now unbeaten in 20 consecutive matches.

After a scoreless first half, Emily Moris gave MSU the lead when she rifled a shot past Hartzler on the right side with an assist from West in the 68th minute. Central Missouri tied it up nine minutes later as Alexis Robbers headed a Kayla Shain corner kick between the pipes.

MSU finished with nine shots on goal compared to eight for Central Missouri. The Mavericks (17-1-4) will face the winner of Grand Valley State/Wisconsin-Parkside at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Grand Valley soccer field.

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