Field hockey squad captures 1-0 victory

By Todd McMahon

Defense and keeping the ball in its own offensive half of the field were the keys to victory for the NIU field hockey team Monday.

The Huskies won their first game of the year 1-0 over Saint Louis University at Huskie Stadium in a game marked by offensive domination by NIU. The Huskies outshot the Billikens 20-8.

The shots were there for the Huskies but once again, the end result was a single goal being scored. The difference, however, was it was enough to earn victory for NIU in its home opener before 56 Huskie boosters.

Sophomore Kristen Felter provided the game winner with 25:00 remaining in the game on the feed from freshman Becky Walker. Felter then lead the team with three points (goal and assist), while Walker had two points on the season (two assists).

The defense and the goalkeeping of freshman Gretchen Splinter, however, stood out big for NIU head coach Laurie Bell. Splinter came up with four saves, including a game saver, and sophomore Wendy Hozempa added a defensive stop.

“Our defense was very strong,” Bell said. “They kept Saint Louis out of our zone and Gretchen made the big saves to preserve the victory.”

The Billikens were only able to get eight shots on goal and Bell was pleased with the overall team effort. “We dominated the game through the first three quarters,” she said. “It was a great win, especially since it’s the first of the year.

“We’re playing much better as a unit. We’re becoming more offensive-minded now, and I’d have to say it was a good span of the five games we’ve played.”

NIU (1-4) takes a 10-day break before resuming action Sept. 27 at Huskie Stadium against Northwestern University.