Soccer continues to GLIAC semifinal

Jon Young

On Saturday, Oct. 30, the NMU women’s soccer team (8-4-5 overall, 8-4-3 GLIAC) hosted rival Michigan Tech (7-10 overall, 5-10 GLIAC). The rivalry grew more intense as the game went beyond regulation. However, the ’Cats were able to defeat the Huskies 2-1 in overtime on senior day. Head coach Matt Granstrand is surprised to see his four seniors’ careers winding down.

“Time goes by so fast, they’re a special group,” Granstrand said. “They’ve been quality players all of them, quality people more importantly.”

Northern got on the board first breaking open the tie at 10:57 off the rebound goal from junior Jessica Lusardi. The ’Cats have many players playing out of position due to injuries, and lost another player against the Huskies when freshman forward Ashley Nicholas went down at 72:45 after a collision with a Tech player left her with a bone bruise in her right thigh. Assistant coach Joe Gillespie said it’s been tough choosing who plays.

Sophomore midfielder KC McCary heads a ball into the Wildcat offensive zone during the senior day game against Michigan Tech on Oct. 30. The Wildcats were able to slip by with a 2-1 overtime victory. // Justin Key/NW

“We do have a lot of injured people,” Gillespie said. “We knew that we play on Tuesday so it was kind of a balancing act on who to rest and who to put out there.”

The Wildcats held the 1-0 lead until the Huskies Eva Vrana was able to sneak one past the goalie at 69:03 to tie up the score. Both teams continued to battle and the game went into overtime, where senior forward Dana Stephens beat out the Huskies defenders and slipped the ball into the left side of the net past Tech’s goalie.

“It felt real good. It was a big game for me and the seniors,” Stephens said. “To be able to score the goal that won the game was amazing.”

The NMU women’s varsity soccer team hosted the Ferris State Bulldogs (7-9-3 overall, 7-6-2 in the GLIAC) on Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the GLIAC conference quarterfinals match up. Unlike the first two games against the Bulldogs that ended in double overtime ties, the Wildcats were able to pull out the 4-3 win in regulation.  Granstrand was happy to see his team beat the Bulldogs in regulation.

“We had our chances the last few times, as did they. Today the balls just went in the net,” Granstrand said. “We knew it was going to be a battle, but thank goodness no more overtime.”

The Wildcats got on the board first against the Bulldogs when sophomore midfielder Brekelle Sellers threaded the needle on a pass between two defenders to sophomore forward Amelia Johnson for the goal. Ferris State responded at 23:27 with a goal from forward/midfielder Kara Lovelace, and the teams went into halftime tied.

The ’Cats came out in a goal scoring tear to begin the second half as Dana Stephens scored at 45:36 after the goalie deflected Brekelle Sellers’ shot. The Bulldogs responded with another goal from Lovelace, but it wasn’t enough as Stephens scored again at 52:47 off the assist from Sellers. The Wildcats added to the lead when senior forward Kari Buckel bombed a set piece over the wall of Ferris defenders and past the outstretched hand of the goalie at 55:18. Granstrand was proud of his seniors performance.

“It was great to see them do what they’ve done their whole careers; step up in the big games,” Granstrand said. “I’m not surprised and I’m proud of them for what they did today.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 11 p.m. the ’Cats travel to Grand Valley to take on Tiffin (11-4-2 overall, 9-3-2 GLIAC). NMU lost 2-0 to Tiffin earlier in the season.

“We lost to them earlier this season,” Stephens said.  “We’re ready to comeback and hopefully take the win this time.”