he Northern Michigan University soccer team lost two games on the road to No. 1 Grand Valley State University on Friday 2-0 and Ferris State University on Sunday 3-0.
“It was a tough weekend,” senior midfielder Brittney Buchanan said. “We needed a win and we did everything we could to get it but finish. We controlled the game, but found ourselves off the scoreboard again.”
That lack of scoring has been the biggest problem for the Wildcats this year. NMU has been held scoreless in seven games thus far, including all of the last three games. Currently, the ‘Cats rank second to last in the conference for goals scored, averaging only one goal per contest.
“It’s frustrating because we have the opportunities, it’s just that we need to capitalize on those shots to be successful,” senior defender Meghan Sarna said.
On Friday, the top-ranked Lakers controlled the opening half, scoring first on a chip shot by Katy Tafler at 1:20 and again at 30:27 by Ashley Elsass. GVSU outshot NMU 8-1 during that time.
“There is something about playing GVSU that gets every team super excited and intimidated,” Sarna said. “Maybe because they have three All-American forwards or because they are six feet tall. They only let us know about those facts for the first half when they scored. The second half, we pulled our team together and played the way we usually do.”
The ‘Cats held off the Lakers in the second half, allowing only five shots and no goals. The NMU defense also held strong, providing solid plays on three GVSU corner kicks in the second half.
On Sunday, situations did not get better for Northern, as NMU allowed three goals in the second half against the Ferris State Bulldogs. The first goal, by midfielder Maegan Smith, came just two minutes into the second half. Smith scored again at 51:08 off of a failed deflection by NMU goalie Kara Music. The third goal was scored by midfielder Nicole Vick, with the ball sailing just out of reach of Music at 74:33.
“Once again, we couldn’t finish our chances,” said freshman forward Kari Buckel, who leads the team in goals with seven. “Their goals were lucky; none of them came off a decent shot.”
NMU outshot the Bulldogs 18-14, the 12th time this season the Wildcats put up more shots than their opponents. The Wildcats are now 7-8 overall, and tied for 6th out of 8 teams in the GLIAC with a 3-6 conference record.
This Friday and Sunday will be the final home games for the Wildcats, against Saginaw Valley State University (5-5, 5-3 GLIAC) and Northwood University (1-10, 0-8 GLIAC). NMU beat both teams earlier this season on the road.
Sunday’s Northwood game will also be Senior Day for NMU. Northern seniors, forward Casey Wilcox, midfielders Abbie Debiak, Ellen Frondorf, Buchanan and Michaela Harris and defender Sarna, will be playing their last regular season home games at NMU and are looking forward to a good game.
“It’s going to be an emotional day, but hopefully we can play our best for our last game,” Sarna said.