Bemidji State women's soccer celebrates winning the NCAA Central Regional after a penalty shootout victory over Emporia State on Friday at Chet Anderson Stadium.

AUDIO: Beavers Survive Snowy Shootout To Capture Central Regional, Advance To Elite Eight

Three shootout saves from senior goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh and a trio of successful spot kicks helped Bemidji State women’s soccer win the NCAA Division II Central Region and advance to the national quarterfinals with a 3-1 triumph on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw with Emporia State on Friday at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Sara Wendt gave BSU the lead at close range in the 19th minute by finishing off a setup from Maria Stocke. It was the fifth consecutive game with a goal for the senior forward, who also equalled Rachael Norton’s program record of 49 career goals.

With snow showers increasing in the second half and making conditions ever more challenging on the cold evening, Emporia State mustered an equalizer in the 78th minute from the nation’s co-leading scorer Mackenzie Dimarco. It was the 23rd goal of the season from the Hornets forward.

The Hornets nearly snatched another goal just three minutes later on a strike that found the base of the post, but the match would remain level at one going into extra time.

Despite free kick chances for both teams–including one that forced a parry from Stumbaugh in the Beavers’ net–neither could find a breakthrough in the two 10-minute extra time frames, sending the match to a decisive penalty shootout.

Erin Becker, Wendt, and Halle Peterson converted on the first, second, and fourth spot kicks for the Beavers, while Megan Dahl missed wide on BSU’s third take. Meanwhile, Stumbaugh outdid her heroics of last season’s NCAA first round shootout victory against Central Oklahoma by denying three of the four penalty takers who stepped forward for the Hornets. Her save against Joanie Westcoat in the fourth round of penalties confirmed the region championship–a first in program history for BSU.

The Beavers advance to face Midwest Region champions Ferris State, who downed two-time reigning national champions Grand Valley State 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw earlier Friday. The two teams will meet in a national quarterfinal at Chet Anderson Stadium on Sunday at 3pm for a spot in the Final Four at Seattle.

Postgame Reactions

Bemidji State fifth year forward Sara Wendt:

Bemidji State senior goalkeeper Alyssa Stumbaugh:

Bemidji State head coach Jim Stone: