Emilie Rebelo was sure she'd struck the ball to give Minot State University an upset win over No. 7-ranked University of Central Missouri.
With 23 seconds remaining in the second overtime Saturday, the sophomore forward fired a shot from 25 yards out toward the lower left corner of the goal. But UCM junior goalkeeper Jessica Grindstaff dove to her left and pushed the ball wide of the post before gathering it into her arms, preserving a scoreless Division II tie at Herb Parker Stadium.
"When I shot it I definitely thought it was going in," Rebelo said. "(Grindstaff) was nowhere to be found. ... I thought we won the game, and to see her dive across and make that little touch was disappointing. It was kind of heartbreaking."
Minot State University sophomore defender Taylor Bachman-Williams, right, holds off University of Central Missouri senior Jenna Stones on Saturday at Herb Parker Stadium.
Despite Rebelo's heartbreak, MSU coach Jason Spain was pleased with the result.
"We didn't play for a tie," he said, "but we'll certainly take it against the No. 7 team in the country."
The Jennies (3-0-1) outshot MSU 17-11 and had 12 shots on goal compared to three for the Beavers (2-1-1). In terms of quality opportunities, however, both coaches agreed the sides were more equal.
"I thought they had their chances too," UCM coach Lewis Theobald said. "I thought it was a really close game, just a tough game for both teams. I thought both teams had a chance to win it."
MSU senior goalkeeper Marie Torres was a steadying influence in the net, aligning her defenders and pulling in 12 saves. While most were easy gathers on long shots, Torres dove to make one stop and pushed a high shot over the crossbar.
"Our shifting was unbelievable," Spain said. "Marie was getting everyone organized back there, and then I thought our midfield was just hammering back and winning balls going back toward our net."
Much of the game was played on UCM's offensive half of the field but the Beavers created some chances on counter attacks. Sophomore Zoe Fisher led MSU with five shots, though just one was on goal.
UCM, a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, has opened its season with four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opponents. The Jennies beat Winona State University (Minn.), Minnesota State University-Mankato and the University of Mary before the tie with MSU.
"I think that league's gonna be very competitive top to bottom," Theobald said. "We've played now four teams, and I wouldn't pick one above any other at this point. I think Minot's gonna be in every game they play with a good chance to win a lot of 'em."
Spain said the Beavers scheduled UCM for two reasons: to see how they stack up nationally and to try to get into the NCAA tournament. While a win would've glistened on the Beavers' tournament resume, a tie doesn't look bad - and it gives MSU plenty of confidence.
"After playing this team and seeing how we played against them, we definitely have the skill, the power, the strength, everything we need to get through our season and to get to that national tournament," Torres said. "I have faith in our team 100 percent."
The Beavers host the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Herb Parker Stadium.