W Soccer: No. 8 Wildcats heat up going into playoffs

Nationally ranked team takes on Ferris State in GLIAC semifinals.
HEATING UP — The Cats continue GLIAC tournament play into the weekend.
HEATING UP — The ‘Cats continue GLIAC tournament play into the weekend.
Molly Birch

The Northern Michigan University women’s soccer team hosted Purdue Northwest in the GLIAC quarterfinals on Monday, Nov. 6. The Wildcats defeated the Pride in a 3-0 decision to advance to the semifinals which will be held on Friday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. against the Ferris State Bulldogs.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jillian Thompson went into the game on Monday earning GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honors for her performance against Michigan Tech last week. Thompson leads the conference overall in goals against average with 0.42. 

On Monday against Purdue Northwest, the ‘Cats outshot the Pride 23-5 overall. Sophomore forward Molly Pistorius scored the opening goal for the team in the first 30 seconds of the game. Pistorius had a second goal for the Wildcats in the second half with an assist from redshirt junior Caitlyn Trombley. Sophomore Angelina Perritano had the final goal for the team late in the second half with an assist from senior Sami Brown. 

“It was a really good start again,” Head Coach Jon Sandoval said. “We started so quick and so well once we got that first goal within the first 30 to 35 seconds [which] took our foot off the pedal a little bit, not to the extreme that we did against Tech, but then we were able to change it a little bit better after the first half.”

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NMU is getting ready to face off against the Ferris State Bulldogs in the semifinals. The Wildcats are 2-0 with the Bulldogs this season and are looking to remain undefeated in order to advance to the GLIAC championship. 

Ferris State is coming into the semifinals 7-8-4 overall on the season, most recently beating the Saginaw Valley Cardinals in the quarterfinals on Monday, Nov. 6 in a 1-0 decision. If the Wildcats win the game on Friday, they will play the winner of the Grand Valley State and Parkside game. 

“The best thing about it is we get to be home, and we get to be outside, and we get to be in front of Northern Michigan, other student athletes and supporters, Marquette community, etc.,” Sandoval said. “It doesn’t get any easier from here. We have this sense of community in our own team, in our own program, in Northern Michigan.”

The ‘Cats continue their record-breaking season into the weekend. Thompson has increased her shutouts to 13 as they move further into the off season. Pistorius is currently leading the GLIAC conference in overall goals (12) and points (28) for the season. The Wildcats have ascended to No. 8 nationally, making this their highest ranking in program history. 

Sandoval is in his third year as head coach for the Northern Michigan Wildcats. He has coached the team to their first year as regular season champions and is set to help them compete for their first ever GLIAC title. 

“They have been able to show up to practice, to tie up their cleats and go to work, and that is not an easy thing to do, but I do believe that it does prepare them not only to be successful on game days, but [also] the next stage of their life,” Sandoval said.

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