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Troy Maroney / Special to The Forum, Published November 07 2010

Women's soccer: Bison net win in title game

BROOKINGS – The North Dakota State women’s soccer team made the Summit League Tourna-ment championship game somewhat anti-climactic following Friday’s semifi-nal win over South Dakota State in a penalty kick shootout.

The third-seeded Bison beat No. 2 seed Western Illinois, 3-1, on Sunday at Fishback Soccer Park in Brookings to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tourna-ment.

North Dakota State im-proves to 12-5-5, while Western Illinois ends it season with a 10-6-5 mark. The NCAA women’s soccer selection show airs live on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m. today.

Holly Christian scored in the 30th minute off a Mi-chelle Gaffaney assist to stake the Bison to an early 1-0 lead.

Then Quin Ryan found the top left corner of the net open on an unassisted bender from just outside the box in the 59th minute to put NDSU up 2-0.

A Leatherneck foul in the box led to a penalty kick opportunity and the Bi-son’s Marissa Wolfgram, the Summit League tour-nament’s most valuable player, made the most of it as she beat Western Illinois goalkeeper Laura Atkinson to make it 3-0 in the 73rd minute.

The Leathernecks finally got on the board in the 82nd minute when Kelly Dier-show took a pass from Ali Smith and raced down the left side before sending a shot past Bison goalkeeper Kalani Bertsch that glanced off the far post and slid in.

But that would be the last challenge that the Leather-necks would make as NDSU kept the offensive pressure on as time ran out.

“I’m really proud of the effort,” North Dakota State coach Pete Cuadrado said. “We came out with a lot of energy and effort and played 90 minutes and I was really happy with that.

“Getting the wind in the second half was huge; being able to get a goal against the wind was big.”

The Bison held an 11-7 edge in shots, including a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. NDSU also had seven corner kicks to Western Illinois’ two.

Bertsch finished with one save while Atkinson had four and backup Jessica Walsh had one for the Leathernecks.