Women’s soccer secures first win


Senior Allie McBride (11) take a first-half penalty shot against Nebraska-Omaha Friday at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex. McBride’s 25th-minute penalty shot goal proved to be the winner in the Huskies’ 1-0 shutout of the Mavericks.

By Steve Shonder

The rain and slick turf couldn’t put a damper on women’s soccer’s home field dominance.

The Huskies (1-4) took down the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 1-0 Friday at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex. The lone score of the game came from senior Allie McBride on a penalty shot in the 25th minute. NIU ended a losing streak of four-straight road matches and a six-game losing streak stretching back to last season.

“I definitely thought we came out a lot stronger, a lot more intense,” McBride said. “We kind of struggled at the beginning of the season and I think it was just finding a rhythm with our team because the talent is definitely here, as everyone could see [Friday]. So I think it was just a little bit of getting back on our home turf and having a crowd and everything, that kind of energy. It helped.”

In the first half, NIU’s attack kept the Mavericks at bay. Junior Nicole Gobbo, senior Ashley Neubeck and freshman Lauren Gierman registered shots in the first 25 minutes. The shots came against a physical defensive performance from Nebraska-Omaha, which racked up six fouls in the same time frame.

The Huskies’ best chance came in the 25th minute, when freshman Sammy O’Brien fielded a pass and took it into the box where she was fouled, setting up McBride’s penalty kick.

The Huskies had a pair of good chances in the opening minutes of the second half. Neubeck fired a shot that went over the top of the net in the 56th minute; a minute later Gierman got a strong chance, but Nebraska-Omaha’s goalkeeper Hayley Shelton got a handle on it. Shelton is a defender for the Mavericks, but she was put into the net after injuries sidelined the Mavericks’ two goalkeepers.

The Huskies were unable to take advantage of the inexperienced goalkeeper. There were plenty of opportunities — several created by Gobbo on the right side — but NIU couldn’t get much headway. Head coach John Ross said the Huskies needed to be more aggressive in front of the net.

“We created enough to get a couple goals,” Ross said. “We just need to put the ball in the back of the net. We need to be a little hungrier in front of the goal and get that one move to get that shot off.”

The Mavericks cleaned up their play in the second half and were much more possessive of the ball. In the first half, they picked up 12 fouls, and they only received four in the second. They also doubled their shot total, which put the NIU defense to the test.

In the last five minutes of the match, Nebraska-Omaha kept the ball in the Huskies’ defensive end. After a failed corner kick was cleared, the Mavericks’ Chelsi Rohloff put a shot through a group of defenders, but freshman Amy Annala made the save to end the threat. Annala ended the game with five saves and registered her first career shutout and win.

“I was comfortable with the defense,” Annala said. “We were really solid in the back line, making sure our clears were up. We knew we didn’t need to play with it in the back. It wasn’t easy, but we did the work and got out of it.”