Women’s soccer avoids shutout narrowly


Northern Star file photo

Then-junior goalkeeper Megan Donnally swings her leg on a punt Sept. 29, 2019, during an eventual 1-0 loss to Kent State University at the Soccer and Track and Field Complex in DeKalb.

By Jarrett Huff

DeKALB — Women’s soccer continues to struggle as its season nears its end, falling to the Eastern Michigan University Eagles Sunday 4-1 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. This is the team’s sixth straight loss.

NIU senior forward Haley Hoppe made the lone goal, scoring off an assist from sophomore midfielder Nicole Barnham. The goal came in the 88th minute, allowing for the Huskies to escape a more devastating shutout loss. 

NIU’s goalkeepers were put to work in Sunday’s loss as junior Julia Lentz and senior Megan Donnally faced a combined 11 shots on goal. Lentz picked up two saves, allowing one goal in the first half. Donnally picked up five saves, allowing three goals in the second half.

In the first half, EMU came out aggressive, attempting three shots within the first five minutes. Lentz picked up her first save in the fifth minute. The Huskies responded over the next 18 minutes by becoming the aggressor, putting up three shots with two being on goal. Both shots were saved by EMU redshirt senior goalkeeper Mabel Dunn.

The Eagles opened up scoring midway through the first half as redshirt senior forward Sabrina McNeil put one past Lentz to make it a 1-0 game in the 35th minute. 

At the end of the first half, the game remained at 1-0 in the Eagles’ favor. EMU attempted 12 shots in the half, three being on goal. NIU attempted four shots with two being on goal.

EMU came out of halftime as they had played in the first half: aggressive. The Eagles attempted three shots within the opening three minutes, forcing Donnally to make two saves. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to find back net, as junior midfielder Kylie Frantz scored in the 51st minute to make it a 2-0 game.

In the 66th minute, EMU extended its lead to 3-0 off of a goal from senior forward Marla Cobetto. The Huskies continued to deteriorate as the offense only managed a single shot on goal, saved by Dunn, before Donnally faced back-to-back shots with first-year forward Lexy Alston. The Eagles had a 4-0 advantage with a little over 11 minutes remaining.

NIU closed the game with nine shots, five being on goal. EMU had 26 shots with 11 being on goal. With the loss, NIU falls to a 1-7 record in Mid-American Conference play with two games remaining.


The Huskies return to the pitch 2 p.m. Thursday for their home closer against the Ball State University Cardinals. The game will either be played at the NIU Track and Field & Soccer Complex in DeKalb or at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two Indoor Sports Center in Rockford.