Women’s soccer looks to earn a spot in the postseason


Samantha Hill forward/defender for Northern Illinois University takes the ball away from an Eastern Michigan player September 21, 2012.

By Ed Rietveld

With one day of conference play remaining, three teams are in contention for the final two spots in the MAC women’s soccer postseason tournament; NIU, Ohio and Buffalo.

The Huskies (7-8-2, 3-5-2 MAC) are in a tie for seventh with the Bobcats, while the Bulls are one point out of the eighth and final tournament spot.

Today, NIU completes a three-game road trip in Ohio, with a contest against Toledo (7-10-1, 5-4-1 MAC).

Both the Huskies and Rockets are coming off weekend splits against Ohio and Kent State. The Huskies beat the Golden Flashes, 1-0, and lost to the aforementioned Bobcats by that same 1-0. Toledo defeated Ohio, 2-1, and lost to Kent State, 2-1.

With a win, NIU would guarantee itself a spot in the tournament. If the Huskies tie or lose, they can possibly still get into the tournament depending on other action happening Thursday.

Coach John Ross said the fact that his team needs a win to ensure a tournament spot does not change the way the Huskies will approach the game.

“It doesn’t change the coaching style at all,” Ross said. “We’ve always stressed the game in front of us as the most important thing and that’s why we’re going to throw all of our resources at that game in front of us. I’m hoping that…style is gonna help us in this situation and just further on if we’re able to advance.”

Ross also talked about what the Rockets do well and what his team will have to do to make sure they get a victory.

“I think they’re strong on dead balls,” Ross said. “We have to make sure we defend our box tomorrow and they also got a couple players that are getting some goals, so we have to make sure that we account for them … and then consistently, if we can be strong defensively, that’s when we are in games and have success.”

Four of NIU’s seven victories have come away from DeKalb so far this season. Senior defender/midfielder Nici Newquist said the Huskies will have to do the same things that have made them successful this season on the road.

“We have to just start strong, compete and finish strong,” Newquist said. “That’s kind of been our theme of our practices lately. We wanna start strong, compete all throughout practice, [be] hard, be physical with each other, and then end on a strong note [in practice]. And I think when we do that, when we’re on the road it leads to good things like wins and goals early, so I hope we can continue on that note and go hard at Toledo.”