Sept. 23, 2011
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DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's soccer opened the Mid-American Conference season against defending champion and preseason favorite Toledo Friday night and sent the match to overtime, 0-0. With 3:10 left in the first overtime, the Rockets scored the golden goal to defeat the Huskies, 1-0.
"Both teams really battled out today and in overtime the first goal wins it, and its unfortunate that we came out on the other end, of things" said Head Coach Carrie Barker post game. "I'm proud of the way we played - we played as hard as we could tonight and one mental lapse made the difference. I'm not disappointed with our effort, Toledo is a very good team."
The Huskies had the first opportunity of the match to get on the board in the 13th minute, when Ford dished to senior Kelsey Passaglia in midfield.
Passaglia blew past the defender into penalty area, crossing at the goalkeepers box to Ford but just out of reach of Ford's toe. Fortunately for NIU, the ball was collected by sophomore Frances Boukidis just before the end line. Boukidis dribbled back into shooting range, fired a shot that was blocked by the defense and it eventually cleared to end the Huskie threat.
Though the Rockets outshot the Huskies 19-5, the NIU shots were well calculated, coming off set pieces and on open net. Ford totaled two shots on goal in the contest, one headed off a free kick and another saved off the chest of a Toledo defender.
The final shots of the match came when Toledo's Kristin Mattei fired a shot on net towards sophomore keeper Amy Carr, who parried the shot to her left, where Nicole Gyurgik slipped the ball into the net. Carr came up with four saves in the match, smothering three that could've led to second chance efforts by the Rockets.
DeKalb native Becca Ford after the match said "I told the younger players its a tough loss but we need to move on prepare for Sunday's game. Things like this are going to happen during the course of a season, it's just about how you come out the next game."
The Huskies held the the MAC's preseason favorite scoreless for the first 90 minutes of the contest and were still able to dribble and shoot in the attacking third, even with the strength of the Toledo back line, led by Natalia Gaitan, a FIFA World Cup qualifier for Colombia. The Rockets entered the contest averaging 1.50 goals per match.
Northern Illinois now falls to 1-6-2, 0-1-0 in conference, while Toledo improves to 3-5-1 and 1-0-0 in the MAC. The Huskies will return to action Sunday for a matinee against Ball State. NIU will look to continue its three-match winning streak against the Cardinals with a noon kickoff in Muncie, Ind.