South Dakota State soccer heading to the NCAA tournament

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DENVER, Colo. (SDSU) – No. 2 South Dakota State (17-3-1) earned its sixth Summit League Tournament title with a thrilling 4-2 victory over defending champions and top-seeded Denver (13-6-1) Saturday afternoon. Just six days after falling 2-0 and getting outshot 18-1 by the Pioneers in the regular season finale, the Jacks overcame a Denver goal only 29 seconds into the game to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

This marks SDSU’s 12th overall Summit League crown and first tournament title since 2019.

Maya Hansen, Laney Murdzek, Rachel Preston and Cece Limongi all scored goals in a winning effort for the Jackrabbits. Hansen, Teani Arakawa and Karlee Manding all registered assists in the contest.

Jocelyn Tanner (13-3-1) tied a career-high with six saves for the Jackrabbits, including two key saves within a two-minute span to prevent the Pioneers from taking a commanding two-goal advantage in the opening 20 minutes.

Preston was named MVP of the Summit League Tournament and was joined on the all-tournament team by Manding, Katherine Jones, and Kaitlin Zabel.

After an already less-than-stellar start to the game, things seemed to be tilting further in favor of the Pioneers but a brilliant pass from Arakawa sprang Hansen, who beat the keeper over the top to bring SDSU level in the 24th minute.

Laney Murdzek gave the Jacks a 2-1 lead in the 34th minute on a goal that turned out to be the game-winner when she placed a ball into the top left corner of the net from the right side of the penalty area.

Preston, despite suffering a broken nose in the semifinal win against Omaha, went up strong for a header and netted SDSU’s third goal of the game in the 54th minute off of a corner kick feed from Manding.

Limongi sealed the Jackrabbit win with six minutes to play. The senior collected a pass from Hansen inside the six-yard box and pushed a shot past the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper for the Jacks’ fourth goal of the contest.

Denver responded with a goal just one minute later, but the Pioneer comeback effort was too little, too late.

The two sides were even in total shots with 15 apiece, but SDSU owned the possession battle, 56% to 44%. The Jackrabbits tallied five shots on goal in the contest, all coming from the goal scorers.

South Dakota State will learn its opponent for the first round of the women’s college cup during the selection show Monday, Nov. 8 at 3:30 p.m. Fans can join the team and South Dakota State Athletics at Cubby’s for a selection show watch party. Details will be announced when finalized.

The first round of the college cup will take place on campus sites from Friday, Nov. 12 to Sunday, Nov. 14.

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