he Northern Michigan University soccer team won two road battles this weekend against GLIAC teams
The ‘Cats defeated the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals on Friday 3-2, and Northwood 2-1 in overtime on Sunday.
In Friday’s match against the Cardinals, the Wildcats started the scoring early, as forwards Kari Buckel and Casey Wilcox both scored before the end of the 15th minute.
Buckel leads the team with five goals on the year, coming off 27 shots. Wilcox is the team’s second-leading scorer with two goals to go along with two assists.
SVSU responded soon after Buckel and Wilcox connected, when midfielder Stephanie Roy scored three minutes later, making the score 2-1.
The score would remain the same until the second half when Buckel scored 12 minutes in. The goal was assisted by Wilcox.
Roy scored again for Saginaw, but a defensive hold in the last three minutes of play, led by Northern goalie Kara Music, kept the score 3-2.
Northern swept the weekend with an overtime victory on Sunday over the Northwood Timberwolves.
Northwood scored the first goal on a penalty kick at 74:18. The Buckel Wilcox connection responded with only six minutes left. The goal tied the game until the end of regulation.
In golden-goal overtime, senior midfielder Brittney Buchanan scored on a header from a free kick from sweeper Meghan Sarna.
“I had the choice of chipping it over the defensive wall or driving the ball to the far post [on the free kick],” Sarna said. “I decided to drive the ball only to find Buchannan’s head. She had a great angle and she placed the ball in the opposite corner.”
NMU was able to put up five goals over the weekend, the most goals scored in a weekend set this year. Scoring has been a problem for the ‘Cats so far this season, especially in conference games, where NMU had lost to Grand Valley State, Ashland, and Ferris State by scores of 1-0 in each game.
“We knew we had to win these games and we stepped up as a team,” Buckel said. “Both wins came from everybody on the field and everybody on the sidelines giving it 100 percent throughout the entire game.”
With these two wins, the Wildcats (6-5-0, 2-3-0 GLIAC) moved to fifth place in the conference. The wins also snap a three game losing streak, which is the longest losing streak since the 2005 season.
“The sweep last weekend allowed us to get back in the race and it took a lot of built-up pressure off of us,” head coach Matt Granstrand said. “Now we just need to try to sweep each weekend. It would put us in the postseason, which is our goal.”
The Wildcats will return home to play conference games against University of Findlay (2-5-1, 1-3-1) on Friday and newcomer Tiffin University (7-2, 3-2) on Sunday at the outdoor fields.