Women’s soccer gets redo


Senior midfielder Allie McBride (11) fends off a Bowling Green defender Oct. 26 at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex. The Huskies get a second shot at the Western Michigan Broncos 6 p.m. Friday in Buffalo, N.Y., in the MAC semifinals. They lost to the Broncos, 2-0, Oct. 30 to close the regular season.

By Steve Shonder

Women’s soccer gets its own Groundhog Day as it gets a chance to redeem its loss in its regular season finale.

The Huskies will take on the Western Michigan Broncos for the second time in two weeks, this time in the MAC semifinals 6 p.m. Friday in Buffalo, N.Y. The Huskies enter as the No. 7 seed while the Broncos are the No. 6 seed.

Coming off a penalty kick-aided win over Miami (Ohio) Sunday, the Huskies are riding high and they’ll try to sustain that momentum. Junior Kate Wirthlin said NIU took away the right things from its win in the quarterfinals.

“I think that’s probably one of the greatest feelings you could ever have,” Wirthlin said. “After Miami, everybody was on cloud nine, so I think that was one of the best feelings ever. I think it comes down to we worked really hard [and] we deserved it … .”

In their Oct. 30 outing against Western Michigan, the Huskies weren’t able to counter the Broncos’ attack with any offense. The Huskies have been shut out in seven of their last nine games.

Western Michigan didn’t exactly dominate the Huskies on the offensive end during its 2-0 victory. One goal came off a penalty kick, while Rachel Chaney’s goal was a perfect strike that no one could have dealt with. The Huskies expect to be better prepared on the defensive end and hope that translates to a better result.

“We’ll be more organized in the back,” said freshman Amy Annala. “We’ll have our marks down better. … We’ll know what’s coming, so we’ll be less anxious and ready to hold them off.”

The confidence the Huskies gained from the win over Miami is something head coach John Ross expects to be a factor in the team’s play Friday. Statistically, the RedHawks boasted one of the best offenses in the MAC.

“I think the kids are really excited about the game,” Ross said. “I think they got a lot of confidence. They’ve been getting confidence throughout the year, but that last game was a big game [with] just the confidence they gained from it. Knowing that one of the best offenses in the country, they can shut [it] down, and Western Michigan has a similar offense.”

The Huskies are doing a hyper-focused review of their play from the Oct. 30 game. Ross said the players are going to go over game tape and get a better idea of what they need to do against Western Michigan.

The Huskies, who have been inconsistent, are focusing on making sure they have the right attitude for the team’s first MAC semifinals game since 2007.

“In terms of Miami, we just had to believe we could win and we did,” Wirthlin said. “With this game, I think Western is definitely about the same level as we are. So, I have no doubt that we will be able to beat them.”

Buffalo will host Ball State in the other MAC semifinal game 3 p.m. Friday in Buffalo. The winner of Western Michigan vs. NIU will face the winner of that game 11 a.m. Sunday in Buffalo in the MAC Championship game. The Huskies tied Buffalo, 0-0, Oct. 10, and they lost to Ball State, 1-0, Oct. 19.