Women’s soccer team heads to Minnesota

Trevor Drew

The Northern Michigan women’s soccer team opened their season with an 11-0 victory over Finlandia University, but fell to St. Cloud State (2-0,) and lost in overtime against Winona State (3-2.)

Within the first 25 minutes of Thursday’s opening match, the girls managed to crank out four goals and by the end of the half, led 6-0. The ’Cats continued to dominate the Lion’s side of the pitch in the second half and tallied five more goals to end the day.

“Not to downplay the Finlandia game, but that’s a game that we should have won and we did win,” head coach Matt Granstrand said. “The higher level games were the good Minnesota teams.”

The St. Cloud Huskies cut the Wildcat’s celebration short after claiming two goals in the second half of Friday’s match, earning them the victory. Northern Michigan totalled nine shots, seven of which were in frame with the goal, and St. Cloud had 17, 10 on frame.

“St. Cloud was a good team,” senior Carmen Villarruel said. “We kept up with them, we just never finished our chances and we were running around, playing chase.”

Down but not out, the ’Cats battled with Winona State in Sunday’s game all the way till overtime to close out the weekend. In the last two minutes of the second half, the Wildcats trailing 2-1, a shot from Villarruel found the back of the net and forced the game into overtime giving Northern a last opportunity to take the game.

Despite Northern’s effort, Winona State’s Meg Riebau scored the match’s last point giving the visiting squad the victory.

“I thought Sunday we finally, for the first time, didn’t start slow,” Granstrand said. “We were in the game right away. I thought that was a big improvement. I was happy to see that.”

Although the Wildcats started strong, Granstrand said that the team needs to improve on being in the game mentally for the full 90 minutes if they want to see future success. He also added that this is not uncommon for a team this early in the season.

Villarruel said that although the loss was unfortunate, Sunday’s game was much more exciting offensively and the team was able to make better use of their chances.

“We saw, especially against Winona, when we were all passing to feet, making the right runs, we could dominate,” Villarruel said.

“Winona is a strong team and we kept up with them. Even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, I think we can all gain some confidence and realize that if we play the full 90 minutes and finish the opportunities that we have, we can be really good.”

Next weekend, the lady Wildcats hit the road for a weekend of away matches versus

Bemidji State University Friday, and University of Minnesota-Duluth Sunday.