NMU’s Women’s Soccer team is looking to rebound in this season’s campaign after a 4-11-2 record a year ago. Coach Sonia Basma begins her third season as head coach of the team, and her high expectations of last year’s team fell short.
“Our goal is to make sure that we get better every year, last year was really the year for us that we expected to, with the group that we had, probably finish fourth or fifth,” Basma said. “However, we didn’t keep in mind that eight of the 11 who started last year were freshmen, and so we didn’t really put that into the equation, we’re not going to sit here and talk about going up [in the standings]. We’re just going to look to get better every year and I think if we focus on the little things, we’ll get better.”
The Wildcats are a young team again this year, but they will be heavily relying on the group of sophomores that handled the bulk of the playing time last season. Sophomore Caroline Halonen returning this season is a bright spot for NMU. Last year she led the team in points with nine goals and six assists. The ’Cats also return junior goalie Brianna Frontuto who touts the most experience of the netminders. Basma also expects a few transfers to contribute right away.
“We’ve got a lot of raw talent, we have a few transfers that will hopefully be impactful right away, and we have a good core returning,” Basma said. “So we’ll just take it one game at a time and I’m excited to see what our newcomers are going to bring for us this year.”
The Wildcats will take the field on Friday, Sept. 6, when they travel to Duluth, Minnesota to take on the University of Minnesota-Duluth (U-MD) Bulldogs. U-MD came away with the victory over NMU last year 2-0, and Basma knows that they will need to finish stronger in order to come back home with a win.
“They’ve been a really tough one for us these past two years, it’s been evenly matched for the first 70-80 minutes, and then the last 10 minutes they kind of outworked us. Our focus going into this weekend is on the little things, being disciplined defensively, being quick to drop back defensively, they’re a fast team,” Basma said. “They like to counter and get you going the other way, so what we’ve been really focusing on is as soon as you lose that ball, to drop back and eliminate some of their outside shots.”
The Wildcats and Bulldogs will square off in the season opener at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 from U-MD’s James S. Malosky Stadium.