Huskies win at Chicago

By Krystal Megan

Women’s soccer prevailed in double overtime against the University of Illinois – Chicago Flames Wednesday on a goal in minute 103 from senior defender Natalia Pena.

Pena headed in a ball from a corner kick taken by redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Gierman to give NIU (2-1-1, 0-0 Mid-American Conference) the 2-1 victory.

“I thought they were focused all the way from the beginning to the end,” Head Coach John Ross said. “Just a great effort [and] just playing together and playing for each other. It just showed throughout the game, especially when we went down [and] having the response to come back and having the belief in each other.”

Ross said Pena had a big impact on the game and positioned herself well to be successful throughout the night.

“[Pena] was always in the right place at the right time attacking the ball for us all night,” said Ross, according to NIU Media Services. “Her leadership really propelled the team tonight.”

Gierman also assisted on junior forward Taylor Sarver’s first goal of the season in minute 12. Gierman passed the ball to the middle of the box and Sarver was able to get it past the Flames’ goalkeeper Kelly Fritz.

Sarver recorded seven goals and 15 points for the Huskies in the 2016-17 season, and the coaching staff understands the importance of getting her confidence up.

“It’s good to get [Sarver] going,” Ross said. “[In the game] against Wisconsin she had an opportunity there [and] it’s good to get her off and running.”

Gierman, who was the team’s leader in assists and goals scored in 2015, leads the team with three assists this season.

“[Gierman] basically came back right from where she left off, but she still has another gear that she’s going to get to here as we get a little bit deeper into the season and she gets a little more comfortable out there,” Ross said. “She had two other really quality shots on goal from distance tonight that the goalkeeper made [great saves] on. She’s going to propel our offense as well.”

Both teams had eight shots on goal, with NIU taking 12 shots and the Flames taking 20 shots. Senior goalkeeper Amy Annala recorded seven saves in the contest.

The Huskies earned four corner kicks while the Flames earned eight corner kicks.

NIU plays it third consecutive road game against the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay Phoenix 1 p.m. Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin.