Huskies drop MAC opener at home

NIU sustains third loss in four matches

NIU Women’s Soccer defeated by Western Michigan to begin MAC Play

DeKALB — NIU women’s soccer was held scoreless by Western Michigan University in their first Mid-American Conference game of the season.

The Huskies conceded an early goal to Western Michigan in the 13th minute, but held strong for the rest of the first half to keep the score 1-0. Offensively, NIU only managed one shot on goal by junior midfielder Claudia Muessig to finish out a lackluster first half.

“I think in the first half we didn’t have as much fight as we wanted to,” Muessig said. “We were able to create chances, but it’s all about being clinical when we get those chances.”

Western Michigan seemed to have possession of the ball for most of the game, recording 12 shots and six corner kicks. The Huskies were not able to set each other up well, giving the ball up quickly as a result of sloppy passing. Momentum was not on NIU’s side.

“We were hectic,” junior midfielder Abby Zipse said. “We were just giving the ball away instead of finding that first pass and then creating momentum.”

The match continued to look bleak for the Huskies as Western Michigan scored again in the 65th minute. Broncos’ sophomore midfielder Emily Pagett recorded the goal to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead.

NIU finished the game with three shots on goal and only five shots total. The defense did not look much better. Freshman goalkeeper Deighton Wamer had a tough day in front of the net, allowing two goals on twelve shots faced.

Conversely, everything seemed to go Western Michigan’s way. The Broncos were able to stop all Huskie offensives. Graduate student goalkeeper Hannah Sargent led the way, recording three saves on five shots faced. The Bronco defense was able to back the Huskies into corners and force them to turn the ball over.

“We played to their strengths,” head coach Michael O’Neill said. “They’re very narrow in their shape that had us pinned for long periods of time. We had players swinging and rushing their decisions around the 18-yard box.”

NIU looks to avenge their loss to Western Michigan in their next match against the University of Toledo. The match will take place at noon on Sept. 25  in Toledo, Ohio.