by EMILY SCHNACKY
The No. 2 ranked University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs women's soccer team defeated No. 7 ranked Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rival University of Mary Marauders 1-0 Nov. 3 in the first round of playoffs at James S. Malosky stadium.
The Marauders' controversial foul allowed the Bulldogs to score the only goal of the game at the 67:20 mark on a penalty kick. Junior defender Reegan Lloyd kicked the ball into the back left corner of the net, scoring her fifth goal of the season.
Bulldogs sophomore goalkeeper Hanna Iaizzo was not surprised by the victory because her team was expected to win. However, she admits that the extra pressure made her a little nervous. Her teammates agreed.
"The game really could have gone either way but we were fortunate enough to get a penalty kick in the second half," said senior midfielder Lauren Graydon.
Mary played strong offensively outshooting Minnesota-Duluth 13-5 with eight on goal compared to Minnesota-Duluth's three. Senior goalkeeper Hannah Bengtson played an impressive game and earned her eighth shut out of the season. She was credited with eight saves during her 90:00 of play.
"We played well for the most part, and even when they were pressuring and challenging us, we did a good job of keeping control of the match," Bengtson said.
The Marauders were called for seven total fouls to five for the Bulldogs, while UMD held a slight 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
"It was hard for us to break them down in the middle of the field," midfielder Graydon said. "Tonight was a challenge, but it will continue to get more difficult to break teams down as the post-season progresses."
The Bulldogs proved they have a tough defensive unit during the final minute of the game when Mary's goalkeeper, Ashley Akers, was pulled from goal to give the Marauders an offensive edge. Minnesota-Duluth's strong defensive line could not be broken through which left Mary with no goal at the end of the second half.
"I'm so proud of my team and can't wait to beat Bemidji again and then go on to win the conference tournament," said goalkeeper Bengtson.
The Bulldogs' spirits are high as they head to Bemidji State University on Nov. 5 to take on the Beavers in the semifinal round of the NSIC/U.S. Bank Soccer Tournament.