Oct. 28, 2010
DEKALB, Ill.- The Northern Illinois women's soccer team posted a strong second-half effort against Western Michigan Thursday afternoon, but the hard-fought comeback by the Huskies (9-8-1, 5-5-1 MAC) fell short as NIU fell to WMU (9-6-4, 5-2-4 MAC) 2-1, at the WMU Soccer Complex.
In the opening half, the Huskies held their opponents to just two shots on goal, but those were enough for the Broncos who capitalized on each opportunity. The Broncos took an early lead when Megan Matula scored on a cornerkick in the 18th minute to put WMU up 1-0. WMU scored again when Stephanie Skowneski fired a shot from 25 yards out to find the back of the net, giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead entering the break.
Despite letting up to early goals head Northern Illinois women's soccer coach Carrie Barker feels the team did not let two first half goals deter their effort.
"We gave up two soft goals in the first half," said Barker. "Our second half performance was much better, however, we just ran out of time."
Entering the second half, the Huskies knew that had to come from behind, and NIU came out stronger than they did at the start of play. The effort paid off in the 78th minute when Mo Smunt found the back of the net against Broncos' goalkeeper Julia Francy. Sophomore Shelbi Johnson found Smunt in the middle of the box, and the senior captain quickly capitalized on the cross from Johnson to bring the score to 2-1.
The Huskies continued to rally back but time would run out before a striking NIU offense would have the opportunity to score the game-tying goal. The Huskies totaled four shots against the Broncos in the half, while the defense posted three saves to keep WMU scoreless in the second half of play.
Five Huskies tallied shot attempts in the game, with Smunt and Corinne Frankenberg setting the pace with two apiece. Smunt, Frankenberg, and Johnson all recorded shots on goal in the game. Freshman Amy Carr and Meaghan Bennett split time between the posts, registering a combined three saves for the Huskies in the contest.
Today's match marked the close of NIU's regular season, but for the Huskies play will continue as NIU enters the Mid-American Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed Sunday. Northern Illinois will take on Central Michigan in the opening round of the Tournament, where the Chippewas' will host the Huskies at the CMU Soccer Complex Nov. 1.