Senior Day expectations keep team spirits up

Ray Bressette

The Wildcats host a home series against Ferris State and undefeated Grand Valley State University after coming off a road sweep by GLIAC opponents Ashland and Ohio Dominican.

The ’Cats lost a weekend series on the road Friday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 20. They face top-ranked GVSU this weekend for NMU Senior Day. (Anthony Viola NW)
The ’Cats lost a weekend series on the road Friday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 20. They face top-ranked GVSU this weekend for NMU Senior Day. (Anthony Viola NW)

NMU dropped the first game of the road series 1-0 in overtime to Ohio Dominican on Friday, Oct. 18. Heading into overtime at 0-0, freshman goalkeeper Alexandra Simmons made five saves before Kelly Johnson of Ohio Dominican broke the scoreless tie 35 seconds into overtime off a free ball in front of the net. Sophomore defense Hailey Beyrand led NMU with three shots.

Head coach Matt Granstrand said he liked his team’s performance against Ohio Dominican.

“We played a great game on Friday,” Granstrand said. “It was a contest of two evenly matched teams, and while we were disappointed not to get the win, we felt that we competed.”

The ’Cats lost their second game of the weekend to Ashland, 5-0, on Sunday, Oct. 20. Simmons made eight saves of 13 shots. Granstrand said the game was the team’s most disappointing performance of the year.

“That was the first game all year we didn’t show up to play,” Granstrand said. “We fell behind early, and we didn’t play well from the beginning to the end, and it was the whole team, not just one player. We’re going to have to do a better job preparing for each game moving forward.”

Junior defense Kim Rietveld said the team can play fundamentally better.

“We need to play better as a team,” Rietveld said. “We’ve been having only one player step up and take over at a time, which gets the rest of us caught up in the moment. We need to go out and find the passion to win.”

The Wildcats have the final home series of the season, where they will take on two GLIAC opponents in Ferris State at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 and at noon Sunday, Oct. 27 against Grand Valley.

Ferris State is riding a three-game winning streak after defeating Tiffin University 3-0 Friday, Oct. 18 and Findlay University on Sunday, Oct. 20 by a score of 5-2.

The ’Cats will have to contain Ferris’ sophomore forward Nichole Boehnke, who had five goals in their last two games.

On Sunday, the Wildcats will honor midfielder KC McCary and defense Kaylagh Hollen on Senior Day, as they take on the nation’s No. 1-ranked Grand Valley State University. Rietveld said the team will have extra motivation heading into Senior Day.

“It’s the last time our seniors will ever play on our home field,” Rietveld said. “We’re playing a team that’s always been a powerhouse, so we have to make sure we make our last game at home the best memory we can.”

GVSU had 10 players score in their 13-0 win over Tiffin University on Sunday, Oct. 20, which was their 12th straight win. GVSU has shutout their last 13 opponents, and sit at first place in the GLIAC with a record of 9-0 and an overall record of 12-0-1. Their tie came in the season opener, with a 0-0 finish in double overtime against Armstrong Atlantic State from Savannah, Ga.

Granstrand said he looks forward to playing a tough opponent in GVSU on Sunday.

“They’re the best team in the country,” Granstrand said. “It’s fun to play the best because it’s a good measuring mark to see where your team stands. I like our chances at home with our cold weather.”

The Wildcats go into the weekend with a 4-3-1 conference record and an overall record of 4-8-1, and sit in sixth place of the GLIAC.