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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Women’s soccer shutout in quarterfinals of MAC Tournament

Courtesy of NIU Athletics
Graduate student forward Sahara Zingano dribbles the ball past Kent State University defenders. The Huskies were defeated by the Golden Flashes in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament on Sunday. (Courtesy NIU Athletics)

NIU women’s soccer was shut out 3-0 by Kent State University in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament to end the Huskies’ 2023 season.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Sadie McGill struggled to keep the Golden Flash offensive attack at bay, conceding 3 goals on 13 shots faced.

Junior midfielder Alisa Arthur scored one goal and assisted on another to lead Kent State to its second MAC Tournament semifinals appearance in three years.


Along with a goal, Arthur assisted junior midfielder Siena Stambolich on a 38th minute strike. Stambolich’s goal came just one minute and 40 seconds after Arthur’s.

A goal from junior defender Tori Copfer in the 85th minute sealed the postseason victory for the Golden Flashes.

The Huskies failed to score despite generating 5 shots on goal and 14 total shots.

Graduate student forward Sahara Zingano led NIU in shot attempts with 5, followed by senior midfielder Abby Zipse with 3 shots and 2 shots on goal.

Freshman forward Tyra King’s scoring play was called back in the 18th minute after she was called offsides. King would have scored on a rebound from Zingano’s shot attempt.

“Honestly, wasn’t our day,” Zingano said. “I think, you know, little bumps in the road from our attack is something that we struggled with all season. I took shots when I could, I tried to perform for the team as best as I could.”


Despite losing in the first round of the postseason tournament, NIU women’s soccer head coach Michael O’Neill highlighted the positives of the match.

“The girls fought hard and fought to the final whistle,” O’Neill said. “Just fell a short a little bit today, but you know, this is life, this is sports. A lot to be proud of today outside of today’s result.”

The Huskies reached the MAC Tournament this year for the first time since 2017, an achievement that O’Neill and company were proud to accomplish.

“This program has reached new heights, and the hard work, dedication and commitment on and off the field was a platform for us to do well,” O’Neill said. “The seniors, you know, they embody that. Everything they’ve given to this program, they found it in a tough spot, and they’re leaving it as a postseason NIU women’s soccer program.”

O’Neill expressed his heightened hopes for the 2024 season.

“The bar is raised, the expectations will be a little bit higher,” O’Neill said. “And that’s the one thing that we need to take from now and how we go about next year. The main thing that we’re taking from this season are new expectations and new standards.”

NIU concludes the 2023 season with an 8-8-3 overall record and a 6-4-1 conference record.

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