Women’s soccer loses two at home

By Krystal Megan

The women’s soccer dropped two home matches Friday and Sunday after winning their first two conference games.

NIU (5-5-1, 2-2 MAC) fell to the University of Toledo Rockets (5-4-3, 2-0-2 MAC) 2-1, Friday and were unable to complete the comeback against the MAC’s top offense in the Bowling Green State University Falcons (7-4, 2-2 MAC) Sunday, falling 2-1.

Bowling Green averages 2.22 goals per game and boasts the MAC’s top offensive player in senior forward Skylar Fleak, who averages 0.89 goals per game and 0.44 assists per game.

Friday’s loss was the first time the Huskies dropped a match in overtime this season. They tied with New Mexico State in double overtime Aug. 20 and won against the University of Illinois-Chicago in double overtime Aug. 30.

With both losses, the Huskies are still searching for their first home win of the season. Head coach John Ross said his team still has a good mentality.

“We’re .500 still,” Ross said. “We still have six points in the MAC with a lot of games left to play and a lot of games left to play at home, so we should start to get refreshed and see if we can go after the next game.”

Friday – Toledo

Junior defender Hannah Scafaria headed in a ball on a cross that went over NIU senior goalkeeper Amy Annala in the 108th minute to give the Rockets the victory.

Scafaria provided all of the offense for the Rockets, as the game-winning goal was Scafaria’s second goal of the game. She also scored in the 69th minute on a scramble in the box to tie the game at 1-1.

Prior to Friday’s game, Scafaria had scored in each of Toledo’s last three matches.

Redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Gierman scored her first goal of the season while taking a corner kick in the 63rd minute that gave NIU a 1-0 lead. Gierman’s goal makes a total of 11 different players to score for NIU this season.

After missing the 2016 season due to injury, Gierman has come on to lead the Huskies with five assists this season. Gierman led the Huskies in goals and assists in 2015.

The teams’ statistics were almost even, as NIU outshot Toledo, 15-12, with the Huskies putting seven on target and the Rockets nearing five shots on frame.

Both teams took three corner kicks and committed 15 fouls.


Sunday – Bowling Green

The Falcons scored two goals in less than two minutes to begin the second half to take a 2-0 lead, and were able to hold off the Huskies to end the game with a score of 2-1.

Falcons junior defender Alexis Fricke scored unassisted in the 63rd minute on shot from inside the box.

Redshirt junior midfielder Erica Hubert netted a ball unassisted in the 64th minute when she collected the ball, turned and fired a shot past Annala to double the Falcons lead.

“[In] the last 20 minutes, we kind of woke up [and] took it to them and got right back into the game and had a goal disallowed, but we got to do that from the get-go,” Ross said. “[I’m] just disappointed we didn’t do that right away, but it gives us an opportunity to learn and understand that we can’t do that. We have to give our best effort right from the get-go, and if we do that, it’s a different game.”

With 18 minutes left in regulation, freshman defender Haley Hoppe scored her second goal of the season to cut into the Falcons lead to 2-1. It was Hoppe’s second straight weekend with a goal. She netted her first collegiate goal Sept. 22 against the University of Akron.

Ross said Hoppe has been playing well and has improved.

“[We] kind of worked her in at the beginning of the season [to] just kind of get her feet wet a little bit and [gave] her a little more time, and she kept responding with that,” Ross said. “Now, she’s just playing all the time.”

The Falcons outshot the Huskies 15-9, with NIU getting three near target, and Bowling Green putting seven near frame. Both teams committed 14 fouls.

The Huskies finish off their three-game homestand 6 p.m. Thursday when they take on the Miami University Redhawks at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.