Huskies win 2-1 in final home game

Women’s soccer closed their home game schedule in 2-1 win over Miami-Ohio Thursday night

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.

Skyler Kisellus, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB — The women’s soccer team won 2-1 in their final home game of the season against the Miami (Ohio) University Redhawks on Thursday night. 

NIU’s sideline showed an abundance of energy during the course of the game, most notably following scoring plays.

“(The energy was) passionate and contagious,” head coach Julie Colhoff said. “When our entire team is fired up like that from the sideline, it translates onto the pitch for us.”

The Redhawks began the match with an aggressive attack, kicking five shots before the Huskies could make their first.

In the first half,  Miami attempted 11 shots, while NIU had two. Out of those 11 attempts, senior goalkeeper Julia Lentz had four saves. 

“I was just trying to focus on my training and staying true to the fundamentals,” Lentz said. “(I tried) to make it as easy as possible to give confidence to my team.”

In the 17th minute of the match, Huskies sophomore midfielder Claudia Muessig hit a direct shot to the net on a corner kick to score the game’s first point.

The Huskies closed the first half leading the Redhawks 1-0, their first lead of the season since their 2-1 victory against Bowling Green on Sep. 26.

NIU tacked on another goal in the 70th minute, with a scoring shot from graduate forward Haley Hoppe, extending their lead to 2-0.

“It felt awesome,” Hoppe said. “I was really happy to see that we’re finishing on our opportunities, especially from corner kicks.”

An own goal by NIU brought the score to 2-1 at the 76:57 mark. The Huskies proved to be more efficient on their goal attempts, scoring two goals on five shots, while the Redhawks only made one of 21 shots.

Lentz ended the game with 9 saves against 21 shots from the Redhawks, blocking crucial shots in the final minutes of play.

“(Lentz) came up big for us in a lot of ways,” Colhoff said. “She’s had a tough past. She’s always been working hard to earn that right to between the posts in those big moments, and today, she showed why she should be there.”

On the heels of their first victory after a nearly month-long win drought, Colhoff gave credit to the team’s execution of the game plan.

“I felt like, in this game, people were dependable for what we needed for them, whether they were on the field or on the bench,” Colhoff said.

Ahead of their final two games of the season on the road at Ball State University and Western Michigan University, the Huskies will look to replicate the success they had in their home finale.

“We (will) show up with a passion, be ready to pour in in every way that we can and execute the game plan,” Colhoff said.

NIU will return to the field on Sunday when they play against MAC opponent Ball State University at 1 p.m. in Muncie, Ind. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.