The Northern Michigan University soccer team lost two GLIAC games this weekend, first to No. 1 Grand Valley State University and then to Ferris State. Both were 1-0 decision’s.
The first game against the top-ranked Lakers (7-0-0, 2-0-0 GLIAC) bode well for Northern. The first half was typical of play for the Wildcats, consisting of strong passing and ball control. NMU had 4 shots, including one that bounced off the crossbar by forward Casey Wilcox. The ball didn’t get into the net in the second half either for the ‘Cats, but GVSU forward Ashley Elsass’ shot did, leading to the 1-0 final.
“We had a 50-50 shot of winning,” head coach Matt Granstrand said. “I can’t fault our effort, I can’t fault our performance. We rose to the challenge to play against a great team.”
This is the third time that GVSU has been held to only one goal this year (the first two times against reigning NCAA Division II champs University of Tampa in the first game of the year, and to Division I Missouri-St. Louis). The Wildcats felt that this was a major accomplishment.
“This was the best game this team has ever played,” senior Brittany Buchanan said. “We held the best team in the country to one goal that happened in the second half. Other teams are going to see this, and they’re going to have to watch out now.”
That good feeling did not last long for Northern, as the Wildcats were defeated by Ferris State (2-3-0, 1-1-0 GLIAC) on Sunday. The lone goal of the game came quickly, as Bulldog Megan McCabe scored just three minutes into the game.
The Wildcats came close to scoring at the end of the first half with a desperation shot that went wide right of the goal. The shot came from a one-on-one between Meghan Sarna and the FSU goalie ending with another Bulldog defender giving a slide tackle to end the threat.
“I’m a sweeper, so I’ve never been one-on-one with a goalie like [that] before,” Sarna said. “I didn’t really know what to do, and it’s kind of frustrating.”
The Ferris State game was the third straight 1-0 loss to conference opponents. The Wildcats (4-5-0, 0-3-0 GLIAC) have not been able to find the goal this season in GLIAC play but have seven players who have scored.
“This is my fourteenth year as a coach, and this is the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in my life,” Granstrand said. “Were playing great soccer, were doing everything right. We’re not finishing.”