MSU optmistic after loss to Upper Iowa

It was a familiar result for the struggling Minot State University women’s soccer team, but one that left coach Jason Spain feeling optimistic.

Upper Iowa scored seven minutes into overtime to claim a 1-0 victory Sunday at Herb Parker Stadium. It was the second late, game-winning goal allowed by the Beavers this weekend. Winona State edged MSU 2-1 on Friday.

“This is the only time in my life I’ve ever been happy with a loss,” Spain said. “We went through the whole bench, everyone played, and no one got wrecked. And (Upper Iowa) was a good team.”

It took more than 97 minutes for the game’s only goal. Upper Iowa freshman Maggie Olson won the ball in traffic, found some space about 22 yards in front of the net and blasted a shot into the top right corner.

“It was a great shot, a great hit, and she really worked to create that on her own,” Upper Iowa coach Brian Diaz said. “She worked to pick up the 50-50 ball, and then to turn and go at a defender to create space – she really hit a nice shot to finish it off.”

The ball sailed just above the outstretched hand of MSU sophomore goalkeeper Gemma Biasetto, who said she wasn’t expecting the strike and misplayed it. Biasetto punched at the ball with a closed fist rather than tipping it over the crossbar with an open hand as she’d done a couple times earlier in the match.

“I should’ve had my hand open for that one, should’ve tipped it over,” Biasetto said. “I think our defense learned from that last shot. I’ve learned from that last shot and it won’t happen again, that’s for sure.”

Each team put eight shots on goal and the Beavers (1-4-2 overall, 1-3-1 Northern Sun) recorded 16 total shots to Upper Iowa’s 15.

Spain was encouraged by the play of his four freshman forwards, who were looking to add offensive punch in the absence of injured junior Zoe Fisher. Fisher injured her knee in the Winona State loss and will have an MRI today.

Freshman Chloe Melton recorded a team-high three shots on goal, and classmate Jayden Montejano tested Upper Iowa goalkeeper Kaitlyn Emanuel with a low shot five minutes into the overtime period.

Montejano missed a promising opportunity wide right in the first half, but the Peacocks (6-2, 4-1) had the nearest miss in regulation. With 30 minutes, 49 seconds remaining in the second half, sophomore Lauren Rohrmeier stung a shot from 27 yards out that skimmed the crossbar.

Emanuel finished with eight saves and Biasetto tallied seven.

Although Spain was pleased with his team’s effort, he knows the Beavers need to record some wins to position themselves for a conference tournament berth. The top eight teams make the tournament and MSU is tied with two other squads for ninth place with 10 NSIC matches remaining.

“(Upper Iowa) or Winona are probably the best two teams in the conference and I’m not scared of them,” Spain said. “We’ve just gotta put together some rhythm to play in the tournament.”

Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter

@DAllar_MDN.