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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
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I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics
Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

    Wildcats advance in GLIAC tourney

    The Northern Michigan soccer team won their GLIAC quarterfinal match against the Findlay Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 3, sending the Wildcats to the semi finals for the first time in two years.

    The Wildcats (10-8-1) were seeded fourth in the GLIAC after closing out their regular season with a 1-0 victory over Ashland University. The seed earned them a home match for the first round of the GLIAC tournament, in which they hosted the fifth seeded Oilers (5-11-2). Despite the difference in records, the Oilers forced Northern to play more their style, as Findlay outshot NMU 7-2 in the first half.

    “We got a little frustrated in the first half,” said head coach Matt Granstrand. “Findlay’s a good team, and they had us off our game.”

    The Wildcats had more success in the second half, as they were able to step up offensive pressure by dominating the time of possession. The relentless attack was exemplified in the way the ‘Cats scored their first goal. Junior forward Kari Buckel crossed the ball into the box and had it deflected by Findlay goalie Alicia Tutino. Freshman forward Amelia Johnson took a shot off the rebound only to have it stopped by the diving keeper. Johnson shot twice more before finally hitting it over the outstretched body of Tutino at 51:34.

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    The Wildcats kept their ball control style of play up, as three shots later junior forward Dana Stephens was able to hit the left side of the net on a pass from Buckel at 59:15. Stephens also had another chance on a one-on-one, but hit the left post and had the ball trickle along the goal line before the Findlay goalie picked it up.

    “I’ve been working on placing the ball recently, instead of just shooting as hard as I can,” said Stephens. “I just aim toward the corner and [hitting the post] happens sometimes.”

    After the shot hit the post, the Oilers started to play with desperation. Findlay picked up the pace and started bringing the ball into the Wildcats’ territory and began to shoot. NMU, led by senior goalie Kara Music, kept the Oilers to only one goal on nine shots in the second half. The lone Findlay goal came with seven minutes left in the game and was scored by midfielder Ashley Ruz. Midfielder Emily Beddoes provided the assist.

    “Second half was really crazy,” said Music. “In the last 10 minutes, all you want to do is be done, and when the balls keep coming at you, it’s kind of scary. But we did well.”

    The other quarterfinal game had the third seeded Tiffin Dragons (11-5-2) hosting the sixth seeded Northwood Timberwolves (7-10-1). The Dragons won 3-1. Because the Dragons are a higher seed than the Wildcats, NMU will now play top seeded Grand Valley State on Friday, Nov. 6. The Lakers (17-0-2), who won the regular season, will host both semi final games and the final game, regardless of whether they win or not.

    GVSU has been ranked first in the Midwest region’s coaches poll and NCAA regional rankings every week of the season. They are first in the GLIAC for shots with 514, while the Wildcats are second with 262 shots. The Lakers are also ranked first in corner kicks, goals, goals allowed, assists, and shutouts.

    Grand Valley’s real strength, however, comes with their deep bench, something NMU struggled with in their regular season matchup this year in Allendale. The GVSU bench scored three goals in a 4-1 Wildcat loss.

    “The thing about Grand Valley is that they have 11 solid players and then have 11 more to replace them,” said Granstrand.
    Despite the Lakers’ advantages, the Wildcats are not rolling over.

    “GVSU is a good team, stats can prove that, but I think if we can get a goal early and then play outstanding defense and keep them from scoring, we can get the win,” said senior midfielder Emily Lockery. “We can’t treat this game any different than our other games. We need to come together as a team and work as hard as we can. Just because they are ranked, doesn’t mean they are unbeatable.”