Northern Illinois Travels to Buffalo and Kent State

GO HUSKIES Shelbi Johnson was a key cog to the Huskies offensive output last weekend
Shelbi Johnson was a key cog to the Huskies offensive output last weekend

Oct. 5, 2011

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DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's soccer team will continue its 2011 Mid-American Conference campaign Friday and Sunday, hitting the road to face Buffalo (8-2-2, 1-1-2 MAC) and Kent State (8-4-0, 2-2-0) Oct. 7 and 9. The Huskies (1-9-2, 0-4-0 MAC) are searching for their first win of the conference season, after flirting with a draw Oct. 2 against Ohio.

Both matches this weekend can be followed on live stats at and Buffalo will also have a live video stream of the contest. Subscription required.

The Huskies hosted Akron and Ohio last weekend at NIU Soccer Complex, dropping both contests to the visiting Buckeye State schools. NIU created opportunities for itself against Akron, playing to a 0-0 stalemate in the first half. 18 minutes into the second half, Akron struck the only goal of the match to claim victory 1-0.

Versus Ohio last Sunday, NIU surrendered a goal in the 25th minute of action to fall to a 1-0 deficit in the first 45 minutes. 15 minutes into the second half, Northern Illinois capitalized on a corner kick opportunity, connecting with Samantha Hill for the score to even the match 1-1. 1:48 after Hill's goal, the Bobcats' Erin Schwenke scored the game-winning goal to lift Ohio over NIU, 2-1.

Buffalo had one of the Mid-American Conference's best preseason performances, finishing 7-1-0 and earning shutouts in all its victories. Thus far in conference play, the Bulls are 1-1-2 and on a three-match unbeaten streak, tying last weekend at Central Michigan (0-0) and Eastern Michigan (2-2). The only blemish thus far in in the MAC is the Bulls 2-1 loss versus Bowling Green, which was quickly followed by a win over Miami (Ohio) two days later (1-0 OT). UB has outscored its opponents 17-7 in 2011.

Even distribution is the motto of Buffalo's offense, as three players are tied with three goals apiece for the team lead, Katie Roberts, Aubrey Stahl and Taylor Thompson. Roberts leads the team in points with three goals and assists for nine points in 12 appearances. 11 players have registered goals this season for the Bulls. Ainsley Wheldon has been the mainstay in net, with 1,123 minutes recorded and seven shutouts posted. Wheldon leads the MAC in saves this season with 78.

The Golden Flashes sport an overall record of 8-4 (2-2 in the MAC) and will host Western Michigan Oct. 7, before hosting Northern Illinois. On the team's last road trip, similar to its first road trip of the year, Kent State split the weekend as it finished 1-1 by defeating Eastern Michigan (2-1) and falling to Central Michigan (3-0). KSU fell to Miami (Ohio) in the MAC opener, 2-1, but defeated Bowling Green 1-0 in overtime Sept. 25.

Jaclyn Dutton and Jessacca Gironda each boast 14 points this season with five goals and four assists in 2011. Similar to Buffalo, Kent State has nine players registered with goals this season and has outscored its opponents 22-18 in 12 contests this season, three from penalty kicks. 15 of KSU's goals have come in the second stanza. Megan Repas has been a key distributor for the Golden Flashes this season, leading the team with five assists

The all-time series between the two schools is strictly black and white, with grey in-between, as Buffalo leads the series against Northern Illinois, 6-8. However, NIU has won three of the last four contests, including last year's match in DeKalb, 1-0. All-time in New York, the Huskies are 1-4, winning its only contest in 2008, 1-0, Head Coach Carrie Barker's first season at the helm of the team.

Northern Illinois leads Kent State all-time in the series, 7-4-3. The Huskies dominance in the series occurred between 1997-2002, when NIU won the first-five meetings and outscored the Golden Flashes, 24-5, including an 11 goal outing in 1997, led by NIU Hall of Famer Anne Mucci's hat trick performance. However, the last six seasons have been evenly split at 2-2-2 and three of the last four matches have gone to double overtime in the series as well. The Huskies last win in Kent, Ohio occurred Oct. 6, 2002, a 3-2 overtime triumph for NIU.

Sophomore Samantha Hill was selected as Northern Illinois' MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week, as she registered the first goal of her career last Sunday versus Ohio. Hill is undecided on her major and owns a 3.4 GPA.

Concluding the trip east, Northern Illinois will host Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan for a pair of matches at NIU Soccer Complex Oct. 14 and 16.