MSU soccer blanks Black Hills State 6-0 in season opener

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State sophomore Sofia Lewis (left) makes a pass with Andrea Franco (8) making a run Thursday afternoon against Black Hills State at Herb Parker Stadium.

Ball into the box and senior Andrea Franco was body checked into the ground. Minot State’s leading scorer from a season ago, Sofia Lewis, stepped to the penalty spot to deliver some retaliation.

Not even a minute into MSU’s season opener, Lewis calmly buried the Beavers’ first goal of the season into the top right corner.

The rout was on from there at Herb Parker Stadium, as the Beavers (1-0) rolled to a 6-0 victory over Black Hills State (0-1) to kick off the 2018 season.

“It felt good to get my name up on the board nice and quick, so I could get it out of the way,” Lewis said. “That first goal is always a little stressful, but after the first one they start rolling through. The first one is usually the hardest one.”

Lewis made it look easy and didn’t show any nerves to put MSU up 1-0, 59 seconds into the contest.

“That was just a rush of energy,” Franco said about the opening goal. “We were all ready to play and get going… I saw the ball coming through and I just did what I could to get in front of the ball, whether it was getting a foul or getting a goal.”

Twelve minutes later, Lewis picked out senior Haley Berryman on a cross and watched in amazement as Berryman twisted her body around for an acrobatic finish.

“It was absolutely insane,” Lewis said. “She blows my mind. It was crazy and I was speechless.”

The Beavers added one more goal in the first half on strike outside the 18-yard box by sophomore Melanie van Walstijn on a layoff pass from junior transfer Cinthya Samaniego. The shot went off the hands of BHSU goalkeeper Jara Dz-Rae and into the net.

“I thought the second half we played a little more crisp,” MSU head coach Jason Spain said. “I felt like we were really moving the ball left-to-right, right-to-center and left-to-center. We were pretty fluid and that translated into a lot of goal scoring chances.”

Lewis and Berryman each doubled up on goals in the second half. Lewis broke free for a near post finish and Berryman headed home a rebound off a shot from Samaniego.

Ashley Franco and Sydnee Canales assisted on the second goal for Lewis.

With 16 minutes remaining in regulation, Spain had pulled all of the MSU starters, including goalkeeper Erin Rafferty. Black Hills State didn’t register a shot on target, so neither Rafferty or replacement Mackenzie Long had to make a save.

Senior forward Taryn Love capped the scoring at 6-0 with a breakaway goal, getting a through ball from Jordyn Cook.

MSU outshot BHSU 13-1 with the Yellow Jackets only shot coming from Rose Miller with under two minutes to play.

“It’s just nice to win,” Spain said. “I’m 22 years in and I haven’t lost an opener, road or home. I don’t know, maybe I’m lucky.”

The Beavers are back in action at 1 p.m. this Saturday against Oklahoma Baptist (0-1) at Herb Parker Stadium.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.