Hoppe pushes Huskies over Crusaders

Hoppe tallies fifth goal in five games this season.

Graduate+student+forward+Haley+Hoppe+dribbles+the+ball+in+a+game+against+Chicago+State+on+Aug.+26.

Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

Graduate student forward Haley Hoppe dribbles the ball in a game against Chicago State on Aug. 26.

Davione Barrow, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – Despite a gritty, physical contest from both the Huskies and the Valparaiso University Beacons, graduate student forward Haley Hoppe was able to notch in a goal for the Huskies in the 86th minute of play to secure the Huskies a 1-0 victory.

Defense was a major factor in the match on both sides, but primarily for NIU, as the Huskies were able to make vital plays down the stretch. 

“We were able to create some really good opportunities,” head coach Julie Colhoff said in a Sept. 3 NIU news release. “Haley put the ball in the net again, and the defense made a lot of big stops for us, including our goalkeeper Sadie (McGill).”

Early in the match, freshmen forwards Kelsie James and Lindsey Dusatko of Valparaiso were very aggressive in pushing the pace to get an attack going. In the first half, Valparaiso controlled much of the game, having a total of eight shots, five of which were on goals. 

NIU had a total of four shots, one of which was on goal, along with five saves by Sadie McGill. 

In the second half, the Huskies stayed tenacious defensively, along with taking much better care of the ball. In the 70th minute of the match, Coach Colhoff made a four-women substitution which provided adequate rest for the Huskies, along with bringing in fresh legs. 

NIU was able to get a lot more offensive opportunities with them sharing the ball effectively and playing within space. This allowed freshman forward Edith Delgado & sophomore forward Kierah Mierer to get out on the attack & stay aggressive, along with making plays for themselves and others as well. 

The backline of defense continued to shine and stand strong for the Huskies in doubling James and  constantly staying active on the defensive side of the ball, which led to opportunities and looks at the goal. With just under five minutes left in the match, Hoppe was able to slightly bridge past a defender and get off a shot in the 86th minute, which would end up being the game-winning goal for the Huskies. 

“The goal gives Hoppe her 11th goal in her NIU career. She also has a goal in every game so far this season. The biggest thing with Haley is that she has been working really hard for a long time to get to this level,” Colhoff said. “It is great to see her executing in those big moments. It is credit to her work rate throughout the years and her persistence. Also, her teammates giving her the ball in dangerous areas and she is capitalizing on it.” 

NIU will be back to resume play Thursday, Sep. 9 against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Game time is set for 5 p.m. in Green Bay, Wis.