Bison soccer clinches playoff spot with win vs South Dakota

NDSU will face Oral Roberts in Summit League tourney

This past Friday, on a beautiful fall evening at NDSU’s historic Dacotah Field, the North Dakota State Bison soccer team clinched a spot in the Summit League tournament with a dominant 4 – 1 win over the South Dakota Coyotes. The win clinched the 5th seed for the Bison who will now face the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles in Denver in the Summit quarterfinals on Friday.

 The Bison, who took a 1 – 0 lead into halftime on Friday, exploded for three second-half goals to send the Bison into the postseason. Two goals by Olivia Watson and another from Olivia Lovick put the contest away. On Sunday, the Herd dropped a 2 – 0 decision to South Dakota State University to finish the homestand at 1-1, the regular season 8-8-3 and 4-5 in the Summit League.

 The Bison gave one of their best offensive performances of the season on Friday. Besides the four goals, the Herd fired 20 shots at the Coyotes. In the first half, Lavin Douglass notched her 3rd goal of the year at the 27:58 mark on assists by Kelsey Kallio and Olivia Watson. Watson picked up the ball at mid-field and passed it to Kallio who fed Douglass. Douglass drove the ball just inside the right post. Watson to Kallio to Douglass and the Herd had a 1 – 0 lead.

NDSU midfielder Lavin Douglass battles a South Dakota player for possession on Friday night at Dacotah Field. Douglass scored a goal and added two assists to help the Bison defeat the Coyotes 4 – 1. Photo Courtesy | Hayden Austin, the Spectrum

 South Dakota tied it up just minutes into the second half. Ashby Johnston tallied her fourth goal at 51:05 to tie the contest. Johnston scored on a beautiful give-and-go play with teammate Joana Zanin, who received the lone assist on the goal. Just 10 minutes later, NDSU would strike with two quick goals to put USD out of reach. Watson’s first goal of the evening was a deflection shot that went into the right side of the Coyote net. She was assisted on the play by Douglass. Just seconds later, Jess Hanley sent in a long pass to Lovick who would work her way to an open shot which she buried into the left corner to make the score 3 – 1. Watson ended the scoring with her second tally of the night at 88:27. This time, Lavin Douglass collected an assist along with Kallio.

  “Very pleased with Friday’s performance,” Bison head coach Mike Regan said. “At times, this was the best I’ve seen this season in terms of being fluid and all those types of things. So, I was very pleased with that and with the goals we scored.”

 Next up for the Bison is Oral Roberts University in the quarterfinals of the Summit League tournament. Just two weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla., the Bison suffered a 2 – 0 defeat to the Golden Eagles. Things should be different his time around according to Watson. “We’re going to be really prepared and know what to do,” Watson shared. “I think being on a Friday night and with fresh legs, we’re going to be able to come out and show them what we can do.”

 The match against ORU will be at 7:00 p.m. in Denver. The winner will face the top seed, the Pioneers of Denver University, on the following Sunday at 1:00 p.m. In the other quarterfinal, 6th-seeded North Dakota will face the #3 seed, the Omaha Mavericks in Brookings, S.D. The winner will face the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State University, the number two seed. The semifinals winners will face off the following weekend at the highest surviving seed’s home field the following weekend.

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