02 Oct WOMEN’S SOCCER: Beaver freshmen fuel important 2-0 result over Augustana
“It’s obviously a great feeling to be on a roll like this,” head coach Jim Stone said. “We’ve had a different cast of characters getting on the scoresheet lately. That’s healthy for us and good to see. I couldn’t be more happy for this group right now.”
The Beavers view their 10-player freshman class as both pieces for the future and a recipe to be in win-now mode. The latter rang true Friday night at Chet Anderson Stadium, where freshmen Emma Huelsnitz and Miah Olson powered BSU to a 2-0 win over Augustana with their first career goals.
“This is probably one of the most meaningful games for us right now,” Olson said. “It really shows that we can work together as a team and prepare for this during the week. Today we showed up and got the result we wanted, so it’s super exciting.”
Bemidji State freshman Emma Huelsnitz (10) celebrates after scoring in the first half against Augustana on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
While some traditional powers in the NSIC — à la Augie — seem to have taken a small step back since the pandemic layoff, that certainly hasn’t been the case for Bemidji State. The Beavers are now 7-0-1 overall and 4-0-1 in conference games, up to No. 13 in the national poll and proving that they’re here to stay atop the league.
“Winning this game was really important,” Huelsnitz said. “We’re just working our way up for the NCAA Tournament. We’re trying to get there, and we can get there.”
BSU didn’t waste much time for its opening statement on Friday.
Huelsnitz scored her first career goal in the fifth minute, heading in a pass from Maggie Cade’s corner kick.
That score held until the 43rd minute, when Olson nutmegged Augustana keeper Jillian Barkus after coolly slipping behind the backline on an offensive rush. The goal came just moments after Olson fumbled away an offensive chance with too heavy of a touch.
“At that first breakaway there that I didn’t finish on, I was really upset with myself,” Olson said. “But (the next opportunity) was right there. I took it upon myself to say, ‘I need to put this in the back of the net.’ I’m glad I did that.”
Bemidji State freshman Miah Olson (32) scores in the first half against Augustana on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Maria Stocke and Mariah Nguyen, two more members of the freshman class, notched assists on the play for a 2-0 advantage that held from then on out.
“When you’re a striker, to get that first goal, it’s euphoria,” Stone said of Olson’s goal. “There’s not too many more natural highs you can get on this earth that are better than that.”
The Vikings (3-3-2, 2-1-2 NSIC) came out determined on the attack to open the second half. Augustana tested the BSU backline with prolonged pressure, but the defense held firm behind Megan Dahl’s blocked shots and Alyssa Stumbaugh’s ultimate 5-for-5 performance on save opportunities.
“We’re just really strong,” Huelsnitz said of the defense. “We all know how to head the ball really well, defend really well. We’re like a stone wall. … We keep getting better as the season goes on, so that’s really exciting.”
The defense weathered the storm and outlasted the Vikings’ attack. By full time, Stumbaugh had her second clean sheet of the season.
Bemidji State goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh makes a save in the second half against Augustana on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji State closes the weekend against Wayne State at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, back at the Chet. No doubt, the rookies will have a say in that outcome, too.
“All of us freshmen have a lot of different things we bring to the team,” Olson said. “The upperclassmen are super good at including all of us and making sure that our skills shine through. It’s super exciting, and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.”
No. 13 Bemidji State 2, Augustana 0
AU 0 0 — 0
BSU 2 0 — 2
First half — 1, BSU GOAL, Huelsnitz (Cade), 5’; 2, BSU GOAL, Olson (Stocke, Nguyen), 43’.
Second half — No scoring.
Saves — Stumbaugh (BSU) 5; Barkus (AU) 2.
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