Soccer remains unbeaten on home field

Jon Young

The Home field has been good to the NMU women’s soccer team this season. The ’Cats (4-3-1 GLIAC, 6-3-2 overall) picked up a win and tie last weekend to remain undefeated on the outdoor fields behind the Superior Dome.

The tie came in a double-overtime battle on Sunday, Oct. 2, as the ’Cats and Ashland University Eagles were unable able to find the net in a 0-0 match. Head coach Matt Granstrand said he was happy with the play from his team.

“I thought we played a really high quality game against a good team,” Granstrand said. “I would have liked to score a goal and won the game, but that’s sports. If we keep playing like we are, we’re going to be fine.”

NMU controlled the pace of the game with 12 shot attempts, compared to three for the Eagles.
The Wildcats defense and senior goalkeeper Jessica Baker recorded their fifth shutout of the year. Baker, who has eight career shutouts, said she was impressed with the ball movement.

“I thought we played really well overall,” Baker said. “We did really well possessing the ball, and we definitely had it the majority of the game. We just couldn’t find the back of the net which is kind of frustrating.”

The first game of the weekend was against the Lake Erie College Storm. The ’Cats put up a season high four goals in a 4-0 victory.

The scoring load was spread out as four different players got on the board. Granstrand said his team’s depth makes it hard to find playing time for everyone.

“We have a deep roster of talented players,” Granstrand said. “Today we got a little bit of a lead and they showed how good they were when they stepped on the field, which makes my job even more difficult.”
NMU got on the board early at the 7:19 minute mark with a goal from junior midfielder KC McCary. The strong winds kept the ’Cats on the offensive attack in the first half, but they were only able to score one goal. Granstrand said his teams, past and present, are notorious for not taking advantage of the wind.

“Eight years in a row, I sit there and I say, ‘Guys you have the wind. Please try to take advantage,’ and we never do,” Granstrand said.

The second half saw NMU surge ahead with three more goals. Freshman midfielder Kim Rietveld scored her second goal of the season at the 63:30 minute. Junior midfielder Kylee St. Arnauld added to the lead at the 73:21 minute with a score off a corner kick.

Freshman midfielder Nicole Musi scored at the 83:20 minute. Musi dribbled through traffic and avoided the charging Lake Erie goalie, before punching the ball in to round out the scoring. Rietveld said the team has an advantage with the harsh Lake Superior weather.

“Nothing is like this environment anywhere else,” Rietveld said. “It’s windy, its cold, sometimes it’s snowing and raining, but it definitely helps because we know the field; we play on it every day.”

The Wildcats take to the road again next weekend for their last trip away from home this season. They take on the University of Findlay Oilers (3-3-1 GLIAC, 4-5-1 overall) at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 in Findlay, Ohio. Then NMU faces the Tiffin University Dragons (5-1-1 GLIAC, 6-3-2 overall) at noon, Sunday Oct. 9 in Tiffin, Ohio.