Oct. 31, 2008
After posting a 5-4-2 conference record (9-5-5 overall) during the regular season, the sixth-seeded Northern Illinois women's soccer team will begin Mid-American Conference Tournament action against No. 3 seed Eastern Michigan, Sunday at noon.
The Huskies will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. to take on the Eagles, who posted a 6-2-3 MAC record this season, and an 11-4-5 overall mark.
NIU and Eastern Michigan have squared off once so far in 2008, playing to a 0-0 tie, Oct. 5, in Ypsilanti.
Head coach Carrie Barker was very pleased with her squad's effort in that match and anticipates another close contest.
"Eastern is a very good team," Barker said. "Tournament games always bring out the best in both teams and it's going to be a great matchup."
Barker believes that playing in Ypsilanti earlier in the year will help the Huskies in Sunday's match.
"We played up there earlier this season so we have an idea what to expect," Barker said. "That match was a while ago so both teams are a little different. It is not going to be the same match but there should be some similarities with the teams."
Senior midfielder Thea Johnson (Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) posted a stellar regular season for the Huskies, scoring five goals and collecting seven assists to lead NIU in both categories. Johnson's seven assists rank third in the MAC. She also ranks eighth in the conference in points (17) and ninth in goals (5). Johnson has also been clutch in 2008 as she has posted four game-winning goals, which ranks tied for first in the MAC.
Junior goalkeeper Lindsey Curnock (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) posted nine shutouts during the regular season, which ties her school-record mark set in 2007. Curnock's nine shutouts rank second in the MAC. She has now collected a school-record 23 shutouts in her career.
The NIU defense had a fine regular season, ranking fourth in the MAC in both goals-against average (0.89) and goals allowed (18).
The winner of Sunday's match will meet the winner of No. 2 Central Michigan and No. 7 Ball State, Friday, Nov. 7.