The Minot State University women's soccer team looked like a defeated group Friday night.
The Beavers walked off the turf at Herb Parker Stadium teary-eyed and with heads bowed after a 0-0 tie with Minnesota State University-Moorhead.
MSU likely needed a win against a bottom-half team in the Northern Sun to keep alive its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA Central Region tournament. The top six teams qualify, and MSU came into the match ranked No. 7 in the region.
Minot State University sophomore forward Zoe Fisher gets her foot on the ball in front of Minnesota State-Moorhead’s Ashley Gallegos during their match Friday at Herb Parker Stadium.
"That just wrecked us," MSU coach Jason Spain said. "We won, we were in. That'll kill us. We have to win the conference tournament now."
The Beavers (12-3-2 overall, 10-3-1 Northern Sun) had their chances. They outshot the Dragons 21-11 and had three shots sting the crossbar and two more slide wide of the post on one-on-ones with Moorhead goalkeeper Ashley Leintz.
"Our composure, we just didn't have it tonight," MSU senior midfielder Lexy Kidd said. "We had opportunities, the final ball was perfect every single time. It's just the finish. We just couldn't get it done."
MSU forward Zoe Fisher attacked the most frequently, taking 11 shots. She also had the most near misses. The sophomore missed a header wide left and twice drew Leintz away from the goal, but pushed her shots wide of the posts.
The Beavers also hit the crossbar three times in the match, which spanned 110 minutes with two overtime periods. Fisher and junior Jamie MacFarlane routinely found space to run behind the Dragon defense but couldn't connect on a goal.
"They got great runners up on top and they know where they're going to be, so they connect passes really well and get into those spaces," Moorhead coach Rollie Bullock said. "They create opportunities from just their hard work, basically."
Despite being handled for much of the match, Moorhead nearly stole the win. The Dragons dinged the crossbar with 15 seconds remaining in the final overtime period.
But the Beavers will be the ones who remember the missed opportunities. To make the region tournament, the Beavers will likely have to knock off top-ranked Minnesota State University-Mankato in the NSIC tournament.
"We have to win every game from now on," Kidd said, "which we can do, but it's more pressure."
MSU plays at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., at 1 p.m. Sunday.