The No. 8 Minnesota State women’s soccer team faces Gustavus Adolphus in an exhibition home opener at The Pitch on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
The Mavericks have won their last three exhibition home openers dating back to 2013 — all under Head Coach Brian Bahl (57-6-4).
Bahl, the 2015 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Coach of the Year, led the Mavericks to an 18-2-2 record last season. Minnesota State, the reigning NSIC regular season champion, compiled a 14-0-1 NSIC record in 2015. The Mavericks reached the semifinal round of the NSIC Tournament and the “Sweet Sixteen” of the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Kiana Nickel, sophomore Morgan Cottew, and junior Jenny Hoerter are the Mavericks’ top returning offensive threats. Nickel, a midfielder, led the trio in 2015 with a career-high 11 goals to go along with seven assists, for 28 points. Cottew recorded nine goals, six assists and 24 points from the forward position, while Hoerter garnered three goals, seven assists and 13 points from the midfield. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Morgan Seemuth and sophomore Abby Hausken are returning from a 2015 defensive unit that held opposing offenses to 11.4 shots per game. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Livermore is also returning for the Mavericks.
The returning Mavericks are joined by 12 freshmen and one transfer. The new defenders are: Anna Mixon, Taylor Barzowski, Jessica Ault, and Peri Hoff. Sammy Stoelk, Alesha Duccini, Bri Ciaccio and Julia Nellis are joining the midfield. The new forwards are: Julia Mixon, Dakota Wendell, Lauren Kizlik and Taylor Kenealy. Ryann Rydeen is the newest goalkeeper.
In their first exhibition match of the season, the Mavericks tied Northern Iowa 1-1 on Aug. 16 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Minnesota State’s lone goal was provided by Wendell, while the defense held the Panthers to four shots. Goalkeepers Alexa Rabune, Livermore and Rydeen each played 30 minutes.
Gustavus Adolphus is playing its first exhibition of the season. In 2015, the Golden Gusties garnered a 13-7-1 mark and won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament to earn an automatic qualifier into the NCAA DIII Regional, where they lost in the first round. On offense, Gustavus Adolphus is paced by senior forward Maddison Ackiss, who led the team in goals (9) and points (20) in 2015. Last season, goalkeeper Ashley Becker started all 21 games as a freshman.
Minnesota State is 0-2-0 all-time against Gustavus Adolphus, but the two teams have not met since 1997.