Oct. 27, 2011
DEKALB, Ill. - The 2011 Northern Illinois women's soccer season came to Thursday afternoon when it hosted Western Michigan at NIU Soccer & Track and Field Complex. After surrendering two goals in the first half, the Huskies attempted to rally back to break the shutout, bouncing a ball off the crossbar and sailing shots just high of the post, but NIU would fall 2-0 in the contest to end its season.
"Regardless of results in matches, our girls played hard throughout the season and today was no different ," said Head Coach Carrie Barker, "There weren't a lot of breaks for us this season but that didn't stop our team from working hard, coming together and trying to win together."
Senior Kelsey Passaglia opened the attack for the Huskies in the 12th minute of action when she fired a shot at goalkeeper Michelle Watson, who made the save in routine fashion.
WMU accounted for its first goal in the 25th minute, when Nikolette Rivera sent a volley into the box and Stephanie Skowneski scored off a flicked header into the net, past senior Meaghan Bennett. In the 41st minute, WMU secured the ball away from NIU and Aubrey Sudomier slipped past the defensive third and sent the ball to Skowneski, who scored her second goal of the match, from eight-yards out and gave the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Corrine Frankenberg attempted to cut the goal deficit in half in the 64th minute, when she fired an ambitious shot from over 30-yards away that spelt trouble at the last second for Watson between the posts. As she quickly began to backup, Watson jumped and put a hand up to deflect the shot, the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and out of bounds for an NIU throw-in.
As the game winded down, Barker honored the three available seniors playing in the contest, individually pulling them for a last ovation at the contest. Bennett was replaced by freshman Deanna Libricz in net, making her first career appearance. Libricz did not face any shots in the contest.
Also making their final starts were Megan Harry, who setup the offense early in the match from the midfield, and Passaglia. Senior Becca Ford was the only senior unable to play, as she was injured earlier in the season.
In the waining minutes of the match, freshman Ashley Neubeck posted the final shot on goal for the Huskies, that tested the keepers hands and ball security skills. Bennett smothered crosses and ended numerous scoring threats for WMU and also made three saves in her 78-plus minutes in net to earn her first career loss.
Northern Illinois closed the season with a 2-15-2 overall record and a Mid-American Conference record of 1-10-0, while Western Michigan clinched the MAC Tournament's No. 3 seed with records of 12-7-0 and 8-3-0.