Women’s Soccer season ends in loss against Ashland

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Tyler Young

The NMU Women’s Soccer team has finished their season, defeating the Michigan Tech Huskies 1-0 on Friday in a non-conference match before falling 3-0 to the Ashland University Eagles in the GLIAC Quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Against Tech, the Wildcats played toe-to-toe soccer, with neither team able to find a clear advantage. The first half saw both teams focused on offense, with NMU taking seven shots to Michigan Tech’s five. Both defenses came up big when they had to, however, and at halftime, the score was 0-0.

“Ashland’s a good team, I just don’t think we’re there yet,” said head coach Sonia Basma.

“The first year’s always a learning curve, but my main focus this year was not really too much about winning. Obviously we’d all like to win, but for me it’s about setting a certain standard this year and getting the girls on board in terms of the things that we expect.”

In the second half, the Wildcats seemed to be the better team, outshooting Tech 8-4.

Despite this seemingly dominant performance, NMU was unable to find the back of the net, due in part to a strong Husky defense and in part to a strong performance by MTU goalkeeper Kirsen Hudak. On the other end, the Huskies failed to put the ball past NMU freshman goalkeeper Brianna Frontuto, and after 90 minutes, the game remained scoreless.

The 0-0 scoreline stood until the 104th minute, when NMU freshman forward Jenna Halonen received a through pass from senior midfielder Abby Cook and tapped it past the keeper, scoring her 8th goal of the year and securing the double-overtime win for the Wildcats.

“The biggest accomplishment for us this year, I think, was that win against Ferris. One of the top three teams in the conference. Was I excited about Michigan Tech? Yeah absolutely, but I definitely think I get more excited beating out teams that are the best in the conference,” Basma said.

Coming off of the dramatic win over their rivals, seventh-seed NMU headed to Ashland, Ohio for their GLIAC Quarterfinal matchup against the number two-seed Eagles. In the regular season, the teams only met once, with the Wildcats losing 4-1 at home. Now, with the game in Ashland, NMU knew that they needed to put up one of the strongest performances of their season to stay alive.

The Eagles came out firing in the first half, putting four shots on goal. Brianna Frontuto saved all four, and her effort between the sticks was a big part in the score remaining 0-0 until halftime. The Wildcats were unable to finish in the final third, failing to put a single shot on target.

The second half was a much different story, with Ashland taking control of the match early.

Just a minute and a half after the resumption of play, the Eagles’ Kelsey McKernan opened the scoring after she beat Frontuto in the 47th minute, putting the home side up 1-0.

Ashland doubled their lead in the 56th minute, when Morgan Bittengle found a rebound and put it into the back of the net. The final goal of the match came in the 87th minute, when a shot from Ashland’s Sam Malleo glanced off of a Northern defender and into the goal, putting the Eagles up by three goals and securing their spot in the GLIAC Semifinals.

The Wildcats finish their first campaign under head coach Sonia Basma with an overall record of 4-11-2, a GLIAC record of 2-5-2, and a fifth consecutive playoff appearance.

“I think we’ve sort of set a foundation this year and the girls kind of understand the standards and the expectations and now it’s just about building off of it and getting better and getting more wins, which I don’t doubt well do next season.”