Sept. 2, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - In the scorching heat, the Northern women's soccer team took on Illinois State in the Huskies fourth match of the season. After giving up one goal in the first half, NIU surrendered four second half goals and fell 5-0 to the Redbirds.
Though the Huskies trailed in shots, 6-4, and goals, 1-0, in the first half, Northern Illinois remained aggressive on their attack. Sophomore Corrine Frankenburg, freshman Allie McBride and senior Becca Ford carried the ball past the 18-yard box, but were unable to find an outlet to pass to or take a shot on frame.
"ISU is a very good team and they've had a lot of success," said Head Coach Carrie Barker, "Whenever you get an opportunity (to score), you have to put it away. I thought we played well in the first half but set pieces really hurt us in the second."
The high heat on the natural grass pitch at Illinois State made the contest a physically and mentally demanding one, as both teams played a physical first half with fouls evenly matched at 8-7 after the first half of play.
In fact, the heat index was so high in Normal, the head official Daniel Davenport stopped the match in the 24th and 69th minutes to allow the team's a water break.
"It was extremely hot, obviously with the heat advisory in place," laughed Barker, "but both teams had the same issue and I though that both teams did a good job of playing through it."
After allowing one goal in the first 45 minutes of action, the Huskies allowed four goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half. In the waining minutes of the match freshman Ashley Neubeck, senior Megan Harry and McBride created a near chance in an attempt to breakup the shutout, but were unable to convert from the corner of the box and get a shot off.
After the match, Barker talked about the positives of the early season. "Even though the score isn't showing it, we are seeing positive improvements in each game and every game is preparing us for conference play. We scheduled a tough non-conference schedule on purpose and the girls are learning the hard way, game-by-game. Some time the bounces don't go our way and we have to bounce back. We have training tomorrow morning and we are looking forward to Sunday's game."
The Huskies fall to 0-4-0 and Illinois State evens its record to 2-2-0. NIU will return to DeKalb Sunday for a match starting at 1 p.m. against Northern Iowa.