The rivalry between Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech has just grown more intense, as the women’s varsity soccer programs met on the pitch for the first time in Houghton on Wednesday, Sept. 8. The Wildcats came away victorious 4-1 in front of over 1,000 spectators underneath the lights of Sherman Field.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Head Coach Matt Granstrand. “They had a nice crowd and played at night.”
Michigan Tech won their program’s first ever game with a 2-0 victory against Concordia-St. Paul on Sept. 2, but the Huskies had to wait for their first GLIAC win, as they had no answer for sophomore striker Amelia Johnson’s three goals.
“It felt good to be able to finish,” Johnson said. “It was good to have things fall our way.”
Johnson was able to score just four minutes into the game after getting a pass from sophomore midfielder Becky Schmidt. Johnson was able to send the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
The Huskies responded in the 12th minute as midfielder Lindsey Van Rooy scored an unassisted goal.
“It was a breakdown on the defense,” Granstrand said. “It was a chip shot from 30 or 40 yards away and it just got passed our goalie.”
However the ‘Cats came back fast, as Johnson scored on a breakaway at 19:07. Senior forward Dana Stephens also scored in the first half as she was able to take the through pass from senior forward Kari Buckel and get the ball in the net between the post and the goalie.
The first game of the Wildcat’s season was against the visiting Concordia-St. Paul Saturday, Sept. 4, and ended in a 1-1 draw. After a scoreless first half, Stephens stole the lead with the help of Kari Buckel at 51:01.
“Kari was able to split the defenders with a through pass,” Stephens said. “I beat the defender to the ball and shot for the post.”
To the Wildcats’ dismay, Golden Bear Arielle Stimson put in an unassisted goal to tie the game with just 16 seconds left in regulation.
“We deserved the win, should have won, but we ended with a tie,” Granstrand said. “We played a great game.”
The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are the next opponent for the ’Cats, as they take the pitch on Friday, Sept. 10, at 4 p.m. at the outdoor fields. The Bulldogs are 0-1-1 as the teams fight against their biggest non-conference rivals.
Granstrand said he’s anticipitating a typical NMU-UMD matchup.
“Duluth always has been a quality program and we know what to expect from them,” Granstrand said.
The Wildcats will also play GLIAC-newcomer Ohio Dominican on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. at the outdoor fields.