Penalty costs ‘Cats in OT


The Northern Michigan University soccer team played two tough double-overtime games on the road this weekend, losing 1-0 to the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals on Friday, but winning 2-1 over the Northwood Timberwolves.

The lone goal of Friday’s game came off the foot of SVSU midfielder Samantha Echols at 103:47. The goal came on a controversial penalty kick. Although the Cardinals were awarded the kick, no mention of a foul was made on the box score.

“It was a bad call,” head coach Matt Granstrand said. “You can take winning and you can take losing, but you can’t take it when a referee takes it under his wing to determine the outcome of the game. It was a great game and it was a shame for both teams.”

The game was very defensive-minded for the ‘Cats. Saginaw Valley took 18 shots throughout the game, but solid defense and 10 saves from senior goalie Kara Music kept the Cardinals scoreless until the second overtime.

“It was stressful, but we kept the score down,” said Music. “The defense played well.”
The Wildcats were able to turn things around on Sunday with another double-overtime game against the T-Wolves. Northwood (7-7-1, 4-6-1 GLIAC) scored first at 48:19.

Midfielder Mallory McCarthy scored with a shot to the right side after a throw in by forward Marie Zaccagni. Northern would not respond until the 79-minute mark when freshman defender Becky Schmidt crossed the ball into the box for senior defenseman Joanna Kiilunen.

The Wildcats and Timberwolves went on to exchange scoring opportunities for the rest of regulation and the first overtime period. Junior forward Dana Stephens won the game for NMU with an assist from sophomore defenseman Kaelah Mizzi at the 106-minute mark.

“I was on their defensive line,” said Stephens. “Kaelah had a through ball on the ground in to me and I shot it into the right bottom corner.”

This was the second time this season NMU has defeated Northwood, after winning 3-2 at home on September 27.

“It’s tough to beat Northwood at Northwood,” said Granstrand. “It was their Senior Day, [they] had a big crowd, and they would have liked nothing more than to beat us.”

NMU has split four out of five GLIAC weekend series this season, with the fifth series being a tie and a loss on the road against Findlay and Tiffin respectively. This does not bother Granstrand, however.

“We’re right where we should be. If things go the way I think they will go, we’re going to host our first conference quarter final,” said Granstrand.

The Wildcats are now 7-7-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the GLIAC, which is good enough for fourth place behind Grand Valley (14-0-2, 10-0-1 GLIAC), Saginaw Valley (12-1-2, 9-0-2 GLIAC), and Tiffin (5-5-2, 5-4-2 GLIAC). If the season were to end today, Northern would host an opening round game against the Timberwolves.

The ‘Cats have three more games, two of them at home this weekend. NMU will play the Findlay Oilers (4-8-2, 3-6-2 GLIAC) on Friday, and then have their Senior Day on Sunday against Tiffin. The final game of the season will be at Ashland (3-10-3, 0-9-2) on Oct. 31. According to Granstrand, the team is only worried about one opponent right now.

“We play one game at a time and we will beat Findlay on Friday if we play our game,” said Granstrand.