Soccer ’Cats return home for two GLIAC matchups

Lauren Lee

re-AV_Soccer3The ’Cats will play host to Walsh University Friday, Oct. 3 and Ohio Dominican University Sunday, Oct. 5 this weekend, coming off a week that featured two overtime matches.

NMU fell to the Ashland University Eagles 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 27 in Ashland, Ohio.

At the beginning of the game sophomore forward midfielder Carmen Villarruel scored the first goal against Ashland Friday, Sept. 27 at Ferguson field. Seventy-three minutes into the game, Ashland’s freshman forward Morgan Bittengle scored the tying goal. The game went into overtime ending with a win for the Eagles when Bittengle scored her second goal of the game. Bittengle now has three goals on the season.

NMU turned it around getting a win against Madonna University Crusaders on Sunday, Sept. 28 at the Madonna Athletic Complex. Madonna’s freshman forward Jessica Witt scored the first goal less than a minute into the game.

Sophomore midfielder forward Paula Hafner and senior midfielder forward Ashley Katers scored the next two goals for NMU putting them ahead, until Witt scored the second goal for the Crusaders. With no goals in the second half, the ‘Cats went into their second overtime on the weekend. Hafner scored her second goal in overtime earning the Wildcats the win.

Senior defense Kim Rietveld said the team reached their full potential even through overtime.

“We had our best game ever against Ashland,” Rietveld said. “It really helps us when we have a lot of fans so if you are thinking about coming out to the game come out because it really helps. If we play like we played last weekend we should be fine, we just have to come out and play hard for the full 90 minutes.

“Going into overtime is hard but it shows that we have fight in us, and it just makes us more motivated because really want to win that much more.”

The Wildcats will host Walsh University on Friday afternoon. Last season, the Wildcats tied Walsh 1-1 Friday, Nov. 1 in Canton, Ohio. Katers scored the goal in the game against the Cavaliers for NMU with an assist by Hafner.

Head coach Matt Grandstand said the team’s extra play in overtime is bringing his players together.

“It’s going to be a tough weekend,” Grandstand said. “We’re playing the top teams in the conference to start our year so I expect a good game Friday and Sunday. We’re slowly turning the corner from giving away games. We’ve gone from playing 70 minutes of soccer to 90 minutes of soccer and now were playing a full game. We’re mirroring what the football is going through, we have the talent and we’re trying to rebuild. We’re right at that door and trying to get that door open, and it’ll come with this group.”

The Cavaliers are currently 5-1-2 this season after winning two games against teams in the GLIAC and are tied for third. Walsh’s Junior forward Jessie Gearhart is leading the GLIAC in goals with seven, as well as points with 15.

Walsh’s sophomore goalkeeper Dani Shambaugh has the third best save percentage in the conference at .870.

The ’Cats will match against Ohio Dominican on Sunday afternoon.

Last season the ‘Cats lost in overtime to the Panthers 1-0 Friday, Oct. 18 in Columbus, Ohio. Sophomore forward midfielder Kelly Johnson scored on her only attempted shot of the game 35 seconds into overtime. Sophomore defense Hailey Beyrand had three shots during the game for NMU with two on goal. Both teams had five saves on goal and four fouls.

Ohio Dominican’s freshman goalkeeper Kelsey Harris has the third best save percentage in the GLIAC at .852.

Freshman forward Ana Akovic and junior forward Amanda Fowler each have three goals for the Panthers.

Midfielder sophomore Wynona Maravilla said the team will look to carry their confidence into this weekend.

“We definitely weren’t going to go home without a win against Madonna,” Maravilla said. “It was a tough last minute so we wanted to reverse it for the other game. “We’re going to come out quick again this weekend, we want to not only score quick and early but keep the ball and keep it one goal at a time and make sure we can finish. It’ll be tough but we know every game in our conference is tough.”