Women’s soccer team fell to Minnesota teams

Trevor Drew

Over the weekend, the women’s soccer team hit the road for Minnesota to face off against Bemidji State University and University of Minnesota Duluth. They host rival Michigan Tech next Saturday for their final match before conference play starts.

re-womenssoccer-ss-268On Friday, The BSU Beavers managed to crank out two goals per half; leading them to a 4-0 shutout against NMU. Bemidji’s offense produced 25 shots, 12 of which were within the goal frame.

The Beavers dwarfed NMU’s five goal opportunities, one of which was on frame.

In addition to Wildcats’ game not being up to par, head coach Matt Granstrand said the Bemidji team’s performance was one of the best he has seen from any team in a while.

“They had a lot of momentum and they had really good set plays too,” senior goalkeeper Alex Simmons said on the Bemidji offense. “Their corner kicks were amazing. And they scored off this unreal free kick.”

Despite a good effort, the Wildcats couldn’t make it happen on Sunday and fell to Minnesota Duluth 1-2 in their second match of the weekend.

Although it wasn’t the result they were looking for, Simmons said the team transitioned the ball quicker than they have in the past due to a change in their formation. She also said that being able to test the formation before conference games is advantageous.

“I think we are just now starting to realize how each other play,” Simmons added. “The new formation really accentuated everyone’s strengths.”

Northern fended off the Bulldogs up to the last minute of the first half until UMD’s Destiny Schmitz put one past senior goalkeeper Alex Simmons. The Bulldogs struck fortune again in the second half when a shot by Skye Finley found its way, adding to Minnesota Duluth’s lead.

Answering back in the 82nd minute, a pass from senior midfielder Paula Hafner found senior forward Carmen Villarruel with an open shot.

Villarruel put one past the keeper, earning her third goal of the season and halving the ’Cats deficit.

“We play a tough non-conference schedule on purpose,” Granstrand said. “That might reflect in our non-conference record, but it prepares us for what is important which is our conference play.”

With the weekend in Minnesota in the past, the Wildcats turn their focus to taking on rivals Michigan Tech on home turf. Last time the Wildcats and the Huskies collided, the ’Cats managed to come back from a one goal deficit in the second half to clinch a  senior-day victory against Michigan Tech.

The Huskies also spent the weekend in Minnesota playing both BSU and Minnesota Duluth and emerged the winner in both matches, 1-0 against the Bulldogs and 2-1 against the Beavers.

Granstrand said he was not concerned by Tech’s victories over the Minnesotans, saying that results over the past weekend do not indicate that the Huskies are the superior squad.

“None of that means anything,” Granstrand said. “At the end of the day, on Saturday, two good teams will go at it.”

The Wildcats host Michigan Tech this weekend, Sept. 17, at the NMU Soccer Field in their last non-conference match before they take on Grand Valley for their conference premier Sept. 23 on home turf.