Women’s soccer falls in scoreless defeat

By Krystal Megan

Women’s soccer could not get its offense going in its midweek matchup against the Central Michigan University Chippewas.

The Huskies (8-7-1, 5-4 Mid-American Conference) fell to the Chippewas (7-7-3, 2-5-2 MAC) 1-0 on a goal from Chippewas’ junior midfielder Madison Pogarch in the 85th minute.

Pogarch’s goal was fired just outside the box and well-placed in the upper left corner of the net, just out of senior goalkeeper Amy Annala’s reach.

Central Michigan came into the matchup with just one MAC win and losers of five of its last eight games, but NIU Head Coach John Ross said the Chippewas record in the MAC is not indicative of the quality of the team.

“[I] wish we could’ve came out with some points tonight, but it was a hard-fought game,” Ross said. “I know Central Michigan is struggling in the standings, but they’re still one of the better teams in the league. They got the number one goal-scorer in the league. They’re always a dangerous opponent and we knew that going into it.”

The Chippewas put offensive pressure on the Huskies early in the match, earning three corner kicks early in the first half. NIU did not get its first corner kick until minutes before the first half ended.

NIU’s best offensive chance came in the 60th minute when redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Gierman served a corner kick into the box that freshman defender Haley Hoppe almost got her head on it, but the Chippewas denied the opportunity.

Central Michigan edged the Huskies in corner kicks 7-4 and outshot the Huskies 10-7. The Chippewas had six shots on goal, compared to four by the Huskies.

Annala recorded five saves in the match.

NIU is in fourth place in the conference standings with 15 points and two games remaining in the regular season.

Bowling Green University moved to third place with 16 points after its tie against Ohio University Thursday. Ohio and the University of Toledo are right behind the Huskies in the standings with 14 points apiece.

The top eight teams make the MAC Tournament with the top four teams getting to host a quarterfinals match.

Ross said he thinks his team is fighting for positioning in the tournament, while the Huskies upcoming opponents, the Eastern Michigan University Eagles and Western Michigan University Broncos, are fighting for a spot in the tournament, so NIU needs to be prepared to match their energy.

“[We’re going to get] everything they have Sunday and next Thursday,” Ross said. “We got to be ready to match that to get points ourselves. We’d really like to secure a home playoff game, and it’s going to take a lot more on our part to do that.”

The Huskies travel to Ypsilanti, Michigan to battle the Eagles at noon Sunday.