NMU soccer splits on road trip

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The NMU soccer team split on the road last weekend against Concordia-St. Paul and No. 21 Winona State, but this weekend they look to win some games at home in conference play.

The ‘Cats are 0-1-1 in conference play but have two chances for their first victory this weekend. NMU plays Northwood University at the Outdoor Fields at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21 and Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) at noon on Sunday, Sept. 23.

“SVSU had a great season last year. It was a battle against them and it was a brutal game,” senior captain Amanda Gadomski said.

NMU beat the Cardinals last year in Saginaw 1-0 in a very tough game for the team. The team knows that SVSU is going to be a tough and physical opponent.

Gadomski and head coach Matt Granstrand feel that their team must not overlook the this weekend, having only beat both of them by a score of 1-0 last season.

“If we play like we are capable we should do well,” Granstrand said. “Really we don’t overlook anyone and we aren’t intimidated by anyone either. But we also don’t take anyone for granted.”

Granstrand led his team to a 4-1-2 record overall with a 3-0 win against Concordia-St. Paul on Friday and a 2-0 loss on Sunday in Winona, Minn. against Winona State.

The victory for the ‘Cats came on Friday when freshman forward Kari Buckle had a hat trick. Assists came from Casey Wilcox (2), Joanna Kiilunen, Gadomski and Renee LeBlanc.

The goals were the first of the Buckle’s collegiate career.

“I was refreshed and relieved that I finally scored,” Buckle said.

Granstrand said he was pleased with the team’s effort on the road and thought they were taking a big step and playing as a unit.

“This past weekend we really played as a team. It was a very powerful effort across the board. All of our talented players are getting on the same page,” Granstrand said.

In the second game of the weekend the team lost 2-0 against Winona State. Winona goals were picked up by Kayla Walters at the 39 minute mark and Amelia Kasten at the 87 minute.

The Wildcats trailed 1-0 for most of the game and decided to move their defense forward and attempt to tie.

“I don’t settle for 1-0 losses. We don’t do that,” Granstrand said. “You have to continually push players forward if you’re going to try and comeback and win.”

Winona has now won four consecutive matches by shutouts.

“It was a heavyweight battle and they are a very good team,” Granstrand said. “We played them perfectly, even, and had a very good game.”

Even though the Wildcat soccer team lost a game during their road trip, the team and the coach feel that they are making progress and are headed in the right direction.

“We would love to win every game we play, but that is just not reality,” Granstrand said. “Reality is to come and compete and play well and learn and we’re doing that.”