SCORE: AIR FORCE 4, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 2
AFA --- Meredith Benson (Cookie Day assist), ten-yarder from left
side, 22:35 Gone, 1st Half.
AFA --- Jennifer Rowland (Meredith Benson assist), 15-yarder in
center off corner kick, 29:23 Gone, 1st Half.
AFA --- Jennifer Rowland (Meredith Benson assist), 12-yarder in
center off corner kick, 31:56 Gone, 1st Half.
AFA --- Cookie Day (Erin Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Brown assists),
seven-yarder from left side, 39:26 Gone, 1st Half.
NIU --- Air Force own goal, 64:15 Gone, 2nd Half.
NIU --- Kerry Walker (Unassisted), penalty kick conversion, 89:35
Gone, 2nd Half.
WOMEN CAN'T CLIMB OUT OF FIRST-HALF HOLE IN 4-2 LOSS TO AIR FORCE
TO OPEN 2003 SEASON
SPRINGS, CO---Perhaps the mountains near the U.S. Air Force Academy
were the perfect setting for the Northern Illinois University women's
soccer team's season-opener here Friday (Aug. 29). The Huskies tried
to climb back after allowing four first-half goals, but could not
reach the summit in time to prevent a 4-2 setback to the AFA Falcons.
was a tale of two halves," NIU coach Frank Horvat assessed.
"We showed up in the second half, but not in the first. We
made them look really good in the first half, and then we turned
things up. We did some nice things in the second half. I'm proud
of my team and the way they kept playing and fighting. They never
gave up today."
Benson keyed the Falcon attack which raced to a 3-0 lead with three
goals in a nine-minute span. Benson opened the scoring off a Cookie
Day pass, beating Leigh Steigerwald (Fort Lauderdale, FL / St. Thomas
Aquinas) from ten yards out at the 22:35 mark. Benson then set up
Jennifer Rowland for the second strike of the afternoon at 29:23,
feeding Rowland from one of AFA's seven first-half corner kicks.
That combination worked again just 2:33 later and Day completed
the barrage off a Stephanie Brown pass in front of the net at 39:26.
Illinois got on the board 19 minutes into the second half when Tiffany
Anderson (Libertyville) sent a crossing pass off a Cadet defender
into the back of the net behind goalkeeper J.J. Wolf at 64:15. Colorado
native Kerry Walker (Greenwood Village, CO / Cherry Creek) made
her Homecoming a memorable occasion as the Huskie defender notched
her first collegiate goal on a penalty-kick conversion with 25 seconds
was outshot 15-3 in the first half but actually took one more attempt
than AFA (6-5) in the second half. The Huskies also yielded just
one corner kick over the final 45 minutes while earning two themselves
and Carrie Dvorak (Granger, IN / Marian) logged 45 shutout minutes
in relief of Steigerwald, who tallied seven saves but gave up four
corner kicks and shot difference. That explains a huge
difference in how we played," Horvat said. "If we had
played like that the whole game, things could have been different."
Air Force's midfield trio of Rowland, Benson and Day combined for
four goals and three assists for the victors. Wolf collected four
saves to earn the victory in net.
Huskies look for a split of the weekend trip Sunday (Aug. 31) in
a 12:30 p.m. (MDT) match with Colorado College. CC battled Fairfield
University to a 1-1 overtime draw Friday afternoon.
--- Copy by Robert Hester