D1 MN: Penn St and Northwestern to Big Ten Semis, Atkinson makes huge return, Northeastern into CAA Finals, the Summit League has Drama and Dahlien chips in for UNC
Author: Mark Privratsky
By Monday at 2:30pm Central we will all know the 64 team field for this year's D1 NCAA Tournament. Plenty of hope and drama remains between then and now, with Minnesotans playing parts on potential Tourney runs this year. Kaitlyn Macbean and Penn St face Lily Gilbertson and her fellow Minnesotans from Northwestern in the Big Ten Semi Finals, Maddie Dahlien and UNC are poised for more trophies, and Ansley Atkinson has made her return from injury just in time. Jessie Hunt and Lauren Ahles continue to roll with Northwestern and face Hofstra in the CAA Final this weekend, while the Summit League went bananas. Top seeds Denver and South Dakota State (and their many Minnesotans) got sent home by upsets, leaving only Lindsey Birch of Omaha left as the last MN playing in the Summit. Tune in to playoff soccer this weekend to see Minnesotans ball out!
Northwestern and Penn State into Big Ten Semis
While Minnesota bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament after a good fight at #1 seed Michigan State, there remain a few Minnesotans playing big roles that play the Semi Finals on November 3rd. All Freshman Team member Kaitlyn Macbean has played a big role after redshirting, having 2 goals and an assist in almost 500 minutes for the Nittany Lions. Northwestern has has a huge year, earning national rankings and now facing Penn State for a shot at a Big Ten Tournament Title. Northwestern are lead by standout Lily Gilbertson, who's played over 60 games (43 starts) for the Wildcats and has 1 goal and 5 assists playing in all games this year. They also feature Minnesotans Madison Lo, Ramira Ambrose and Sydney Panek. Tune in to the Big Ten Semi Final at 3:30 pm Eastern tomorrow on the Big Ten Network.
Maddie Dahlien and UNC into ACC Semis vs Duke
Maddie Dahlien is only getting more comfortable in the College game at historic power UNC. Facing #4 Florida State two weeks ago, the game was tied in the 2nd half when the First Year from Edina set up the game winning goal to put UNC in a tie for top of the ACC. Dahlien and the Tar Heels face their rival Duke in the ACC Semi Finals tomorrow, November 3rd on the ACC Network. An NCAA Tournament run is the minimum for this program, this year with a Minnesota twist.
Ansley Atkinson makes her return for Creighton
Ansley Atkinson suffered an unlucky knee injury last year as she was leading the Nation in Assists. Unlucky is probably an understatement. She faced an uphill battle to return this year, but if you know her track record, the fact that she's back on the field won't surprise you. Prior to her injury, she had played and started in every game for Creighton in her first four years, ranking 3rd in program history in assists. She's returned just in time for one last run, playing 190 minutes in the last four games. The story hasn't been short on drama, after tying Butler to end the regular season, they faced them again 3 days later in Indy, tying 1-1 in regulation again before ending up in PK's. The Jays won 6-5 with Ansley Atkinson one of the players to step up and bury her kick. Creighton face Georgetown in the Big East Semi Finals tomorrow, November 3rd, at 5:30 Central Time on FLO SPORTS.
Summit League Drama
The most Minnesotan D1 conference is down to just 1 left playing, that's Lindsey Birch of Omaha. South Dakota State endured a tough home loss to Omaha in the Semi Final, while Oral Roberts had an upset of their own over Denver in Penalty Kicks. Both Denver and South Dakota State will be disappointed in a year that had NCAA run expectations, and now more than likely ends in the Summit Semis. Catch standout First Year Lindsey Birch and Nebraska-Omaha take on Oral Roberts in the Summit League Conference Final on November 5th at 3pm Central Time, streamed for free at thesummitleague.org/watch/
Northeastern into CAA Finals with Hunt and Ahles
Northeastern is into the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Final and Jessie Hunt still has a chance to lead the Country in assists. Thanks to a string of upsets, the #3 ranked Northeastern will face #8 Hofstra in the Final for a chance at the NCAA Tournament. All season long, Minnesotans Jessie Hunt and Lauren Ahles have played big roles for the Huskies. Hunt provides the flash with 13 assists, which is 3rd in the country with games to play. After beating Hofstra 2-1 earlier this year, the MN duo will hope to punch the NCAA ticket this weekend. Watch the CAA Final on Saturday, November 5th at Noon Central Time here: www.flofc.com/events
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