ARIBAULT, Minn. -- Top-seeded Minnesota State-Mankota raced out to a three-goal halftime lead before eventually claiming a 5-2 victory against eighth-seeded Minot State in NSIC/U.S. Bank tournament quarterfinal action on Wednesday evening at the Dane Family Field House.
The win elevates the sixth-ranked Mavericks to 16-2-1 overall, while the Beavers' season comes to an end with a 7-8-2 mark on the year. MSU will make its sixth consecutive appearance in the conference tournament semi-finals this Friday.
Minnesota State gained momentum early in the first half behind a goal from junior Emily Moris in the 14th minute. Moris was awarded a free kick from 25 yards out that curved around the MISU wall and deflected off the hands of diving sophomore Gemma Biasetto before rolling across the goal line. That early goal opened the game up for the Mavericks taking the Beavers out of their defensive shell.
Sophomore Korey Kronforst capitalized in the 35th minute extending MSU's cushion to two goals. Kronforst took a feed from senior Courtney Vallarelli and had the initial header saved by Biasetto but blasted the rebound into the right side for her conference-leading 18th goal of the year. MSU made it a 3-0 advantage just before intermission when a pair of freshmen connected in the 43rd minute. Freshman Kiana Nickel played a through ball after streaking down the right side that hit freshman Maddy Smith in stride before she buried her eight goal of the season into the right side.
Minot State answered back slicing the lead to one with two goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half. Senior Jazmine Whitlock received a centering pass from junior Zoe Fisher in the 54th minute and quickly sent it into the upper right-hand corner for the first Beaver goal of the afternoon. MISU struck again in the 57th minute when the Beavers got free on a breakaway after a Maverick corner kick. Freshman Chloe Melton picked up a loose ball and streaked down the heart of the field on a two-on-one before playing Fisher who beat diving junior Molly McGough with a shot into the right side.
However, the Mavericks and junior Rebecca Pederson retaliated less than a minute later regaining the two-goal advantage. Vallarelli played a ball to a sprinting Pederson down the left side that she ripped over the head of sophomore Jimi Guibor and just under the crossbar for her third goal of the season. Senior Tori Meinhardt cemented the MSU victory in the 81st minute with her fifth goal of the season after a pass from sophomore Emily Erickson.
Minnesota State outshot Minot State 28-12 on the day, including a 15-4 advantage in shots on goal and 8-0 edge in corner kicks. Biasetto collected a match-high six saves for the Beavers, while McGough stopped two shots in a winning effort.