The Wildcats women’s soccer team got off to a rocky start in conference play this weekend as the team tied Ashland University and then saw its four-game shutout streak snapped in a loss to Findlay University.
On Friday, Sept. 7, the ‘Cats (3-1-1 overall, 0-1-1 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) tied Ashland University (2-3-1 overall, 0-0-1 GLIAC) in a 0-0 draw. The ‘Cats followed up Friday’s game with a 3-2 loss to Findlay on Sunday, Sept. 9.
“It was a disappointing finish this weekend, and obviously wasn’t what we were looking for, but we were playing two very good teams,” head coach Matt Granstrand said.
Northern, who entered the game with an 0-6-0 record on the road against Ashland, continued their four-game streak of holding opponents scoreless in the 110-minute, double-overtime contest. The team record for consecutive shutouts is five, set in 2000.
“Tying Ashland just shows how far we have come as a program,” Granstrand said. “We have come a long way.”
The ‘Cats were led in goal by sophomore goaltender Kara Music who stopped all five shots on goal she faced during the game. On the offensive side of the ball the Wildcats were led by senior forward Renee LeBlanc, who tallied three of the teams’ five shots on goal in the game.
“It was a match-up of two very different styles,” Granstrand said. “We had some great chances and a few breakaways but we ended up missing shots.”
Sunday’s game saw the Wildcats drop their first game of the season as they were defeated 3-2 by the Findlay Oilers.
The ‘Cats opened the scoring Sunday at the 5:00 mark when senior Amanda Gadomski found the back of the net to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead.
Findlay tied the game, and ended Northern’s scoreless streak, when Amanda Bachmeyer beat Music with a shot from outside of the box. Northern scored once more in the first half when Ashley Dekayser hit the back of the net with a shot to the far left side of the goal.
The Oilers evened things up once again 8:38 into the second half when Lindsey Smith scored off a corner kick. Findlay later gained the lead when they took advantage of another corner kick and headed the ball into the net with 5:50 left to play.
“Our defense has been great this year, and we’ve had some really good performances in goal,” Granstrand said, “We just didn’t play as well as we could have [Sunday].”
Music played the entire game in goal for the Wildcats, stopping six shots. Despite letting in three goals against Findlay, Music has the second best goals against average of all goaltenders in the GLIAC allowing an average of only .64 goals per game.
This weekend the Wildcats continue their season when they travel to Minnesota to face non-conference foes Concordia-St. Paul (1-4-2) on Friday, Sept. 14 and Winona State University (4-2-0) on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Granstrand said his team must remain focused on winning to have success on the road.
“When you go on the road you always hope for the sweep, but you have to be content to take a split,” Granstrand said. “Split on the road, win them all at home, that’s my philosophy.”