FREMONT, Neb. – No. 14 Midland University braved cold temperatures in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinal and earned the 2-0 win over Briar Cliff University. The Warriors advance to the GPAC Tournament Championship game which will be played on Friday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. against the winner of the Hastings/Jamestown semifinal game.
The Warriors improve to 16-2-1 on the year while the Chargers ended the season with an 11-8 record. The win extends Warrior’s streak to 13 games with the last loss coming on September 21. Midland’s defense has not allowed a goal in over 900 minutes of play, and Midland has outshot the opposition 204-43 during that stretch. Junior goalkeeper Rachel Thigpen currently ranks second in the NAIA in goals against per game with .32.
“Once again our backline was phenomenal today limiting Briar Cliff’s chances,” commented head coach Greg Jarosik. “It was great for our team to get the chance to correct our only mistake during conference play. The girls stepped up today in really rough conditions and without our full lineup available.”
Wind played a factor in the first half of action as the Midland offense was playing against gusts reaching 22 mph. The Warriors relied heavily on their stout defense as Briar Cliff connected for five shots, two of which were saved by Thigpen. Despite the conditions, Midland kept pace with Briar Cliff and matched the Charger’s shot total with five in the half. Senior Nayeli Rodriguez sent three shots on goal through the first 45 minutes, but the score remained knotted at 0-0 going into the break.
Midland came into the second half with a kick in their step and the wind in their favor as the team sent three shots toward the goal in the early-going. It would be Rodriguez who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute after fighting off multiple defenders for her 17th goal of the season. The Warriors continued to maintain possession of the ball and managed to set up a corner kick in the 68th minute. Sophomore Brittany Llanes sent a perfect ball across the net and connected with the head of senior Elena ‘PT’ Perez to give Midland a comfortable 2-0 lead. Briar Cliff struggled to find momentum over the final minutes, and the Warriors would solidify a spot in the championship round with the 2-0 victory. Midland outshot Briar Cliff 10-0 in the second half of play.
“Nayeli scored a great goal and PT was able to put the game away,” added Coach Jarosik. “It is always great to see when your top two goal scorers in school history step up in big moments. We are looking forward to the championship game on Friday and then finding out who our opponent will be in the national tournament next week.”
No. 1-seed Midland (16-2-1) will host the winner of the Hastings/Jamestown GPAC Semifinal game which will be played at 7:00 p.m. this evening. The championship game is slated to be played on Friday, November 15 with first kick set for 7:00 p.m. from Heedum Field.