Aug. 16, 2012
Live Stats (Drake) | Live Stats (SIUE) | Huskie Happening (20th Anniversary Feature)
DeKALB, Ill. - The John Ross era of Northern Illinois women's soccer will kickoff Friday night at Drake and continue Sunday at SIU-Edwardsville for the Huskies opening weekend of the 2012 season. NIU is also opening their 20th season of women's soccer and are 11-6-2 all-time in season opening affairs.
COACH ROSS ON DRAKE
"It's our first regular season game and the ladies are very excited for it - It's a new chapter. We've gone through preseason and now its a new season. We look forward to starting it right."
COACH ROSS ON SIUE
"SIUE is going to be a good challenge for us and it will be the first time all year that we will play a game after only one day's rest so it will be good to see how the team responds. I'm expecting it to be a very competitive game."
PREMIERSHIP HISTORY ON HIS SIDE
When he was hired January 24, 2012 John Ross became the fourth head coach in Northern Illinois soccer history and he will roam the Huskies sideline for the first time Friday night. The three previous head coaches Frank Horvat (1993-2004), Marci Miller-Jobson (2005-2007) and Carrie Barker (2008-2011) combine for a perfect 3-0 record in their first games at the helm of their ship.
Coach | Date | Opponent | Result
Frank Horvat | Sept. 5, 1993 | @ Valparaiso | W, 7-0
Marci Miller-Jobson | Aug. 26, 2005 | UW-Green Bay | W, 2-1
Carrie Barker | Aug. 29, 2008 | Eastern Illinois | W, 1-0
The Huskies begin their 20th season Friday night and own the honor of being the Mid-American Conference's oldest program. When NIU kicks off against Drake, it will be the Huskies 365th contest. The Huskies have won two MAC Championships in their time have reached the tournament championship three times since the conference began sponsoring women's soccer in 1997. For more on the history of NIU women's soccer, read this brief history in Huskie Happenings.
The Bulldogs are coming off of a tough 2011 season that saw DU finish the regular season with a 4-11-4 overall record and 2-4 Missouri Valley Conference register. However, Drake returns 10 starters from last year's team that won two of it's four games with double-overtime golden goals. Leading scorer from 2011 Laura Moklestad returns this season after adding four goals and an assist in her junior year. Goalkeeper Kalena Litch, who only missed 10 minutes in net last season (1,817 total minutes played), returns as well.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS-EDWARDSVILLE
Finishing 6-9-1 last season with a 4-5 tally in the Ohio Valley, the Cougars will hope to improve that mark this season. Being selected to finish seventh in this season's OVC Preseason Coaches Poll, the team returns two of its top-four scorers from 2011 in Michelle Auer (3 G, 3 A) and Meagan Iffrig (4 G). Courtney Vonder Haar returns in net after making seven appearances and three starts last season as a freshman for the Cougars, finishing with a 2-2 record between the sticks in the full 90 minutes.
Northern Illinois will hope to rebound after a 2011 season that saw the team finish 2-15-2 overall and 1-9 in the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies were selected to finish 11th in this season's MAC Coaches Poll with 14 points, three points behind Bowling Green. Toledo was selected as the preseason favorite. Despite the low prognostication, the Huskies will be looking to qualify for the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2010.
Though exhibitions can have close to no correlation to the regular season, Northern Illinois finished 1-0-1 in the preseason and did not surrender a goal in their 180 minutes of play. Between the sticks, sophomore Deanna Libricz played 135 minutes in goal and was cool as a cucumber versus IPFW as she made two saves and was very quick to step and clear any passes or threats by the attack.
Friday night's 2012 opener will only be the second match ever between NIU and Drake as the two last met in 2005, a 1-0 triumph by the Bulldogs at Creighton. It will be the first time either team has had a home field advantage.
CATS AND DOGS
Sunday's game will be the third meeting between Northern Illinois and SIUE and the first meeting since 2010, a 1-0 overtime win for NIU. The Huskies own a 2-0 all-time register against the Cougars and have defeated SIUE by an aggregate score of 2-0.
BACK ON GRASS
When the Huskies open the regular season at Drake, the team will be playing on a grass. Though it may not sound significant, the conditions with which the ball moves and plays changes drastically from FieldTurf to natural grass. Friday will be the first of six-road games this season (Akron, Eastern Illinois, Kent State, Ohio and Toledo are the others) that Northern Illinois will play on grass.
The Huskies will have a bye week August 24 and 26 and will return to DeKalb for their home-opening weekend August 31 and September 2, hosting Illinois State and Loyola at NIU Soccer Complex, respectively.