Improved Defense Carries Huskies Against Badgers

GO HUSKIES Sophomore Taylor Conter
GO HUSKIES
Sophomore Taylor Conter
GO HUSKIES

Sept. 8, 2011

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DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's soccer team played with gusto against Wisconsin Thursday evening. Coming off a 1-1 draw against Northern Iowa last Sunday, the Huskies faced a formidable foe in UW and withstood a barrage of shots defensively, but fell 2-0 to the Badgers.

Though it surrendered a goal in each half, the Huskie defense looked confident and refreshed in the contest, even as it faced a heavy headwind in the first half that gave the Badgers shots a little extra spin and english on the ball. Sophomore Amy Carr and the back line - Taylor Conter, Lauren Eberts, Shelbi Johnson and Lauren Solomon - played brilliantly in the contest, communicating with each other to clear the offensive threats and withstand the Badgers 23 shots (nine on goal).

Freshman Lauren Noonan made a great block in the 11th minute that saved a goal, as Wisconsin's Cara Walls took a shot inside the 18 yard box. With Carr caught in a crowd, Noonan deflected Wall's shot at the near post with her stomach and to clear the Badger threat.

"The defense played well against a very good Wisconsin team tonight," said Head Coach Carrie Barker,  "we're obviously disappointed with the loss and two mistakes really cost us tonight. We lost to a very good team, who will probably be in the top-25 next week, but we schedule team's like this to prepare us for conference play."

Wisconsin tallied its first goal in the 31st minute as Alev Kelter headed a ball on a second chance and its second in the 90th minute off a free kick. The goal was put away by Monica Lam-Feist.

With the wind in NIU's favor in the second half, the midfield was able to send more volleys and through balls to the attacking third, where Kelsey Passaglia and Corrine Frankenberg made great runs to pressure the Wisconsin defense.

With Solomon also attacking on the wing from the back line, she managed to take a shot on goal from about 25 yards out to test the keeper in the 85th minute. NIU's other shots sailed high of the crossbar with the wind giving a helping hand.

Carr accumulated a season-high six saves in the contest and asserted herself between the pipes, grabbing crosses and smothering the Badgers chances.

Northern Illinois now falls to 0-5-1 this season, while Wisconsin improves to 5-1-0. NIU will return to action Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. to face in-state opponent Eastern Illinois. Admission is free to all Huskie soccer games.