Second shutout

MSU soccer takes care of Oklahoma Baptist 3-0

Alex Eisen/MDN MSU junior midfielder Ashley Hunter kicks the ball upfield Saturday against Oklahoma Baptist at Herb Parker Stadium. Hunter scored her first goal of the season and second career goal with the Beavers in the second half.

Life has been pretty easy for goalkeepers Erin Rafferty and backup Mackenzie Long. Through two games this season, the Minot State women’s soccer team has only allowed one shot on target.

The Beavers (2-0) picked up their second shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory over Oklahoma Baptist (0-2) Saturday afternoon at Herb Parker Stadium.

However, result aside, a shaky second half still irked MSU head coach Jason Spain a little bit.

“We didn’t end the game today and we are relying too much on the counter attack, we have to do the dirty work too,” Spain said. “But, hey, we are 2-0 and it’s better than 1-1 like last year.”

Minot State sophomore Sofia Lewis opened the scoring the same way she did the in Beavers’ season opener on Thursday with a penalty kick. Twelve minutes into the game, senior forward Sydnee Canales was pulled down in the box. Lewis, using her left foot, snuck the ball under Oklahoma Baptist goalkeeper Emily Griffith for her third goal of the season.

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State forward Sydnee Canales (10) fends off Oklahoma Baptist midfield and former Minot High School Majette Kelsi Mensen (right) in a Division II women’s soccer game held Saturday afternoon in Minot.

Lewis was far from finished. Ten minutes later, the Beavers’ lethal attacker stood over a free kick from roughly 20 yards out. Curling the ball over the wall, Lewis forced a save from Griffith. But, the rebound was left up for grabs.

“I saw it hit the crossbar and thought I have to follow this because I know (assistant coach) Nate (Gutierrez) is going to be on me if I don’t,” MSU senior forward Haley Berryman said. “I was going to try to head it in, but it just went to my foot instead. So, I just volleyed it. Probably over-kicked it, but it went in anyways.”

Tucking the ball away into the top left corner, Berryman had tied Lewis again for the team lead in goals with three. Lewis was credited with the assist.

MSU took the 2-0 advantage into halftime, outshooting the Bison 6-0.

The Beavers’ lead extended to 3-0 a minute into the second half. Junior midfielder Ashley Hunter buried her first goal of the season and just her second collegiate goal with MSU on a pass across the box from Lewis.

In two regular season games, Lewis has racked up nine points to be ranked among the top playmakers in Division II with three goals and three assists. Berryman isn’t far behind with six points.

“I’m just a small part,” Berryman said modestly. “Our defense, did you see how they played? I don’t know how anyone will get passed them. Then, there is Sofia (Lewis) and our center forwards with Sydnee (Canales) and Cinthya (Samaniego) who are all killing it. And our midfield was dicing everybody up.”

Leading 3-0, MSU went stagnant and looked a step behind for a majority of the second half. Both teams registered five shots in the half.

“The second half was bad,” Spain said. “The moment we stop tackling and doing the dirty work, it tipped on us. And they were fighting for their lives and had more desperation than us. That’s what is going to happen. If we were playing a better team, we could have given that game away.”

The Beavers played their reserves for the last 10 minutes or so and kept the shutout intact.

Halle Hill had the only shot on target for Oklahoma Baptist.

Former Minot High School girls soccer player and freshman midfielder for Oklahoma Baptist, Kelsi Mensen, was held in check by some of her former high school teammates now playing with the Beavers, most notably Lewis.

MSU hosts Northwest Nazarene (2-0) next at 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 8) at Herb Parker Stadium.

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