Women’s Soccer Wins First Midwest Conference Tournament Title in Penalty Shootout
The Buccaneer women defeated top seed Knox 3-0 in a penalty shootout to bring home their first Midwest Conference Tournament title in program history. Their season will continue as they head to the 2021 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Being the top seed and hosting the tournament, Knox had home field advantage. Nevertheless, a defensive masterclass was put on by the Bucs as both teams were locked into a 0-0 stalemate after 90 minutes of play.
The two teams continued to battle throughout overtime but could not find the back of the net. Maya Betzler’24 came up with back to back saves to keep the Buccaneers in the game. All in all, the Bucs turned away 13 shots on target throughout the match.
A shootout was next after the two overtime periods ended 0-0. Gracie Gasmann’25 stepped up to the spot first for the Buccaneers. She found the lower right hand corner beating the Prairie Fire’s keeper to give them an early 1-0 lead.
Betzler was on her A-game throughout the shootout. She saved Knox’s first attempt, pushing the ball wide of the post and keeping the Bucs 1-0 advantage.
Aspen Valentine’24 stepped up to take Beloit’s second penalty kick in the shootout. Valentine found the bottom left corner, beating the Prairie Fire goalie to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead, then sprinting back to her teammates to celebrate.
The Prairie Fire’s second penalty kick taker stepped up to the spot and skyed the ball over the goal. The Bucs had a demanding 2-0 lead in the shootout, one that gave the Bucs and fans a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Lorraine Pedroza’24 was the third penalty taker for the Bucs. Pedroza returned to the game in the second half for the Bucs after suffering a fractured radial head in the first half. She stepped up with swagger and finished into the left corner of the goal to give the Bucs a 3-0 lead.
A save would end the game and give the Buccaneers the Midwest Conference Tournament title. Betzler was up for the task once more, as she dove to her right hand side to make the save and give the Buccaneers their first Midwest Conference Tournament title in program history.
The team and fans rushed towards Betzler to celebrate the win.
The journey for the Buccaneer Women’s Soccer team was not an easy one. They went into the tournament as the number three seed out of the four teams. Not to mention, the Midwest Conference Preseason Coaches Poll had them finishing eighth overall in the conference.
With two games left in the regular season, they held their own destiny to get into the tournament. The Bucs beat Lawrence University 2-0, and Cornell College 1-0 in those final two games to clinch their spot in the tournament.
Prior to the championship game, they had to get past a tough number two seed Lake Forest team in the semifinals that they had tied 0-0 against in the regular season. The defensive battle was on as both teams were deadlocked at 0-0 until the 86th minute. Makenna Downing’22 assisted Natalie Ortiz’24, beating the Lake Forest Goalkeeper in the dying minutes of the match.
The Beloit Women’s Soccer team will be competing in the NCAA Division III Tournament this coming weekend. They find out where they are heading during the selection show scheduled for November 8 at 12 p.m.