BEMIDJI, Minn. - Maria McLeod's first collegiate goal was a sweet one for the Bemidji State soccer team.
The sophomore from White Bear Lake found the back of the net in the 23rd minute of the Beavers' season opener against Northern Michigan, and the Beavers held on to win 1-0.
"It's great to get our first win," McLeod said. "They're definitely a big team but we have a lot of speed so we were able to use that to our advantage."
Bemidji State’s Carly Dieterich, left, and Northern Michigan’s Amelia Johnson tussle for possession during the second half Saturday afternoon in Bemidji, Minn. The Beavers beat the Wildcats, 1-0. (Photo by Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer)
The Wildcats (0-2) actually outshot the Beavers (1-0) 15-5 in the first half and 20-12 overall.
"We were fortunate enough to get a few counters and score one," BSU head coach Jim Stone said. "It could have been a high-scoring game. It easily could have been 3-1, 2-1 at halftime."
"We played well enough to win today," NMU coach Matt Granstrand said. "We had plenty of chances and got lots of shots off but we were just unlucky."
On a blustery day, wind was a major factor and most of Northern's shots never found their way to Bemidji goalkeeper Sonja Barr.
Then again, neither did most of BSU's shots. McLeod said she was glad to find an opening on NMU keeper Shelby Conard.
"I didn't know if we were going to get a lot of chances. So I wanted to make sure we finished everything," McLeod said.
The next time she got her chance, she made the most of it, with help from Mary O'Brien and Emily Olson.
"Mary took a girl on, brought it to end line and crossed it over (to)?me," McLeod said. "Then Emily crossed it back in and I was able to get a head on the ball. I was in the right place at the right time."
The Beavers hung on in the second half with better defensive pressure. They also outshot the Wildcats 7-5.
Both netminders made four saves.
The Wildcats continue their trip in Minnesota with a game at Minnesota Crookston at 1 p.m. Monday. Michigan Tech, which plays Bemidji this afternoon, defeated Crookston 1-0 on Saturday.