Women’s soccer drops final road game

By Krystal Megan

DeKALB — Women’s soccer could not find the back of the net for the second straight game after falling to the Eastern Michigan University Eagles Sunday.

The Huskies (8-8-1, 5-5-0 Mid-American Conference) were shut out by the Eagles (6-11-2, 3-6-0 MAC), 1-0, in the team’s last regular season road match.

The Eagles’ goal came in the 27th minute when senior midfielder Alex Wilbanks scored on a free kick.

NIU has scored just one goal in its last four matches and only mustered two shots on goal against the Eagles.

Head Coach John Ross said his team’s lack of offense Sunday was because it didn’t do enough of the little things needed to win a match.

“There were some opportunities that we had [to score],” Ross said. “We needed to see where the space was and expose that space. What we found there, was the pass wasn’t there for us to attack quickly, and we had to wait for them to shoot to recover. So, our speed of play was off today, but give Eastern Michigan credit. They came out [with] a lot on the line and they performed very well today.”

NIU performed better in the second half than it did in the first 45 minutes. The Huskies mustered two shots in the first half, while the Eagles got off seven shots. NIU ended the game with seven shots, and the team’s two shots on goal came in the second half.

The Eagles lead the conference in corner kicks, averaging 5.33 per game. The Huskies held Eastern Michigan to three corner kicks in the game, while taking two corner kicks themselves.

The Huskies came into their two game road-stand with 15 points, and it stayed that way after Sunday’s game.

The University at Buffalo Bulls and the University of Toledo Rockets were right behind the Huskies in the conference standings heading into the weekend, and after the Rockets’ and Bulls’ wins Sunday, the Huskies were pushed out of their fourth place spot into sixth place. The top eight teams make the MAC Tournament, and the top four teams host a quarterfinals match.

“We got to get back to what we do well, and that’s fighting for each other,” Ross said. “If we do the little things and fight for each other, we’re going to be fine no matter what.”

NIU’s last regular season game, and possibly its last home match of the season, is 2 p.m. Thursday at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.