Mavericks win fifth NSIC Tournament Championship

Just inside the 18-yard box on the right side of the field, Minnesota State freshman forward Dakota Wendell settled a loose ball and fired a shot off her left foot past Augustana’s goalkeeper Taylor Machacek and inside the far post for the game-winning goal in the 70th minute to propel Minnesota State to its fifth Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday.

Minnesota State (16-3-2, 12-2-1 NSIC) was the aggressor for much of the first half — outshooting Augustana (13-5-3, 10-2-3 NSIC) 14-4. However, only three of Minnesota State’s shots were on net. Senior midfielders Kiana Nickel and Dana Savino, and junior midfielder Caitlin Foley each had one shot on goal, but Machacek (12-5-2), the Augustana goalkeeper, stopped all three shots on target in the first 45:00.

Freshman goalkeeper Ryann Rydeen (6-0-0) made a goal-saving stop for her only save of the match in the 21st minute. Augustana’s Emily Jacobson took a corner kick that was headed with pace by Hannah Keirstead. Rydeen punched the header up and over the net to prevent the score. Rydeen recorded her sixth shutout of the season.

The Mavericks, who continued to attack after halftime, outshot Augustana 27-6 — 9-1 in shots on goal — for the match. Minnesota State was rewarded for its offensive pressure when Wendell scored her first career game-winning goal in the 70th minute.

The Minnesota State defense, led by sophomore defender Abby Hausken — the NSIC Tournament MVP — held the Vikings scoreless for Minnesota State’s NSIC-leading 16th shutout of the season. Minnesota State recorded three shutouts in the 2016 NSIC Tournament.

For their roles in Minnesota State’s championship run, senior midfielder Dana Savino, freshman midfielder Alesha Duccini, junior defender Abby Nordeen and Hausken were named to the 2016 NSIC All-Tournament Team.

The NSIC Tournament Championship is the third for Head Coach Brian Bahl at Minnesota State. Bahl’s previous conference tournament titles came in 2013 and 2014.

With the win, the Mavericks earn an automatic bid into the 2016 NCAA DII Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Mavericks will be making their 11th NCAA Tournament appearance. The selection show will be streamed at 5:00 p.m. CT on Monday.

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