NSIC in Minnesota: Five-Game Race to the Tourney

[This piece is reposted from EqualTimeSoccer.com as part of our partnership to amplify Minnesota women’s soccer news across all of Sota Soccer’s channels] 

This week in the NSIC has Mankato ranked nationally, Bemidji finding a bit of form, and Winona, St Cloud and Duluth are fighting to be in the playoff chase. There is plenty of intrigue in the final 5 conference games.

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As you can see from the standings, both the #1 seed and final 8 Tourney spots are fully in play. At the top of the table it’s a bit of same story different chapter, with the top 5 finishers from ’21 still holding their own in slightly new hierarchy. Even though the same squads are leading the standings, the middle of the table is much closer to the top and that challenge is a grind.

Occasionally you face a team that makes a day easy for you, but more often than not, the big teams can’t take that for granted. Two teams outside the playoff field were able to take draws off of last year’s Tourney Finalists, with St Cloud taking a 0-0 home shutout against Bemijdi, and UMD taking a 1-1 home draw with Mankato. The race for the NSIC Tourney is on!

Mankato #14 nationally, 9th in Goals Per Game

Remember August? Leaves on the trees were green, we were running air conditioners, and that was also the last time that Mankato lost, in a early non conference tilt with Central Oklahoma. They’ve taken one of the countries best offenses (#9 in goals per game) and lit up the bottom of the NSIC table for the most part. It’s a balanced attack, with Jenny Vetter (10g/3a), Maile Mathis (5g/4a), Brynn Desen (5g/3a), Allie Williams (4g/1a) and Nadia Lowry (1g/3a) all taking decent points.

Perhaps most notable is that seven different players have multiple assists after 13 games. Head Coach Brian Bahl has a squad where anyone can make the big play, which is a good thing in a league where almost anyone can also trip you up. Credit to UMD for snagging a tie at home against the nationally ranked Mavericks. Next up for Mankato is a HUGE home game with Minot State on Friday at 3pm (stream via msumavericks.com). They end the Conference slate with Mary, Sioux Falls, SW MN State and then Concordia St Paul at home in a game that should have serious seeding implications. 

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Winona, St Cloud and Duluth fighting for NSIC Tourney

As we’ve seen since our predictions earlier this fall the fight in the middle of the NSIC table is as interesting as the race at the top. Winona, St Cloud and UMD are in a true scrap to make the top 8, with Winona holding a slight edge for the time being. Each had confidence building moments against a contender, Winona beating Concordia on Sept 30, UMD snagging a draw against Mankato, and St Cloud holding Bemidji to a draw at home. Those are points you have to get if you want to scrape the top 8 Tourney spots. Keep an eye out for the season closer between St Cloud and UMD in Duluth on October 27. It could be a must win for both teams. 

BSU Beavers (Credit: BSU Athletics)

Bemidji State finds results to stay in race for top seed

Until their matchup with Duluth on September 30, Bemidji had only scored multiple goals in a game once. Their stout defense has held them through tight games, but they know it will be difficult to make it back to the NCAAs without a little more juice. They took a 2-1 away win at UMD along with a nice 3-0 Senior Day win over Upper Iowa since then, to continue a 6 game unbeaten streak. Credit the Bemidji State defense (.77 goals against per game) lead by Super Senior Meghan Dahl who has been NSIC Defensive Player of the week for 2 weeks running. Alyssa Stumbaugh also has shut out half of the teams she has faced in goal this year. BSU closes their season with a lot of potential points, highlighted by a huge Oct 23 matchup vs Minot State at Noon (stream via bsubeavers.com). 

Game Recaps

Friday, September 30
SW MN State 1-1 Wayne State
Mankato State 4-0 Upper Iowa
U Mary 1-0 MSU Moorhead
Concordia St Paul 1-2 Winona State
Bemidji State 2-1 UMD

Sunday, October 2
Minot State 3-0 MSU Moorhead
Concordia St Paul 5-1 Upper Iowa
SW MN State 1-4 Augustana
Bemidji State 0-0 St Cloud St
Mankato State 3-1 Winona State
UM Crookston 0-4 UMD

Friday, October 7
SW MN State 1-3 MSU Moorhead
Upper Iowa 1-2 UM Crookston
Mankato State 2-1 St Cloud State
Concordia St Paul 2-1 UMD
Winona State 0-1 Bemidji State

Sunday, October 9
Sioux Falls 0-0 MSU Moorhead
Upper Iowa 0-3 Bemidji State
Winona State 3-0 UM Crookston
SW MN State 2-2 Northern State
Concordia St Paul 0-0 St Cloud State
​Mankato State 1-1 UMD

Pictured: Megan Kirby, Gracie Parsons (Credit: St Cloud St Athletics)

Games to Watch

Friday October 14
Minot St at Mankato State
Kickoff: 3pm
Stream: nsicnetwork.com

Sunday, October 16
Northern State at Winona State
Kickoff: 1pm
Stream: nsicnetwork.com

Friday, October 21
St Cloud St at Northern State
Kickoff: 5:30pm
Stream: nsicnetwork.com

Sunday, October 23
Minot State at Bemidji State
Kickoff: Noon
Stream: nsicnetwork.com

Thursday, October 27
Concordia St Paul at Mankato State
Kickoff: 1pm
Stream: nsicnetwork.com

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