The Northern Michigan University soccer team saw the scoreboard herald its success last Friday, when the Wildcats won 3-0 against Concordia-St. Paul, but also witnessed it display the heartbreak of a tough overtime loss to Winona State on Sunday 2-1.
NMU dominated the Golden Bears on Friday, outshooting Concordia 19-0 in the first half alone. The visitors were able to put three shots on goal in the second half, but all were blocked by the junior goalie tandem of Dana Bush (2 saves) and starter Kara Music (1).
Northern took Friday’s lead quickly with an unassisted goal from sophomore Kari Buckel, just 1:23 into the game.
“I was just feeling it. I haven’t scored yet this season, so it was building up inside,” Buckel said.
Buckel also scored in the second half, when a scramble for the ball left her in a fortunate position.
“The ball was blocked out from the goal and I just kicked it in,” Buckel said. “The goalie was on the ground and I was there. Most of it was luck.”
Senior Casey Wilcox grabbed the third goal, of the game, scoring in the 16th minute. The goal was unassisted.
The goals are a welcomed proof of growth for Northern, as the Wildcats focused on scoring in practice this past week, said head coach Matt Granstrand.
“A lot of it is just recognizing the opportunity, what’s presented and how to attack it,” Granstrand said. “It’s a hard thing for a team to do early in the season.”
Granstrand also commended the Wildcats on good ball movement and said the team is still trying to progress.
Unfortunately for NMU, the No. 12 Winona State Warriors (3-1) defeated the ‘Cats on Sunday in overtime. For Winona State this season, three of its four games have gone into overtime, with 1-1 scores, with WSU winning all of them. Winona State senior forward Gina Florian scored the overtime goal to seal the win.
NMU senior captain Brittany Buchannan scored the lone goal for the ‘Cats halfway through the second half, on an assist from fellow captain Meghan Sarna. Keeper Kara Music played the full game and recorded six saves.
The Wildcats improve to 3-2 overall, with all games being outside of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). NMU will have another Friday and Sunday set of games at the practice fields east of the dome. Friday’s opponent will be University of Minnesota-Duluth before the Wildcats play their first GLIAC game of the year against Ashland University on Sunday.