First victory for women’s soccer

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Tyler Young

The Northern Michigan University Women’s Soccer team split their two home games this past weekend, falling 3-2 in double overtime to Saginaw Valley on Friday before picking up their first win of the year against Northwood Sunday afternoon.

Saginaw Valley opened the scoring in the 27th minute on Friday after Amanda Minissale put the ball past freshman goalkeeper Brianna Frontuto and gave the Cardinals the 1-0 lead. NMU’s freshman defender Kaitlynn Benson answered just under six minutes later to tie After the break, it took only a minute and a half for Saginaw Valley to regain their lead as Valentina Giambanco found the net in the 46th minute. This lead stood for nearly 30 minutes until the Wildcats’ freshman forward Jenna Halonen scored her second goal of the season, knotting the game at two goals apiece.

The tie stood for the remainder of regulation, and the first overtime also failed to produce a result. It wasn’t until the 107th minute of play that the deadlock was broken, when Giambanco again put the ball in the net for the Cardinals, giving her team the 3-2 double overtime victory.

The Wildcats looked to redeem themselves on Sunday, as they played host to the Northland Timberwolves in what ended up being NMU’s first win of the season. The first half featured no scoring, owing in part to sparse offensive opportunities for both teams. Both the Wildcats and the Timberwolves put four shots on target in the opening stanza, with the keepers (Julia Luzod for Northland and Frontuto for NMU) each stopping all four.

The second half was noticeably more offense-oriented for the Wildcats, who added six shots on net to Northland’s two. It seemed like NMU would open the scoring in the 84th minute, when a handball in the Northland 18-yard box gave the Wildcats a penalty kick. Junior forward Aimee Colla was the player chosen to take the spot kick, but she sent it over the crossbar, and the game remained scoreless. Colla, however, redeemed herself just a few minutes later, when she headed a Halonen cross into the net, putting the Wildcats up 1-0 in the 87th minute. Halonen added a goal of her own in the final minute of play after she was awarded a penalty kick, and the match ended 2-0 in favor of NMU.

“I think these girls were holding back a little bit in the first half,” NMU head coach Sonia Basma said of her team’s play. “Our hunger to go to goal was a bit more elevated in the second half.”

Wildcat goal scorer Colla agreed, saying “Offensively, this game we had more opportunities, we had the hunger to go to goal. I think we played really well.”

The Wildcats’ next matches are against Purdue-Northwest on Friday and Davenport on Sunday, and Basma is hoping to use the team’s momentum in their favor.

“We’re going in now with a little more confidence,” Basma said, “We’ve been doing the right things. The win reassures us that yeah, we’re going in the right direction, and we’re just going to use that now to keep climbing.”