Huskies defeated by top team in MAC in road battle

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Mingda Wu

Freshman Amber Best in possession of the ball during the women’s soccer match against Western Illinois on Sept. 9 (Mingda Wu | Northern Star).

DeKALB – NIU women’s soccer was bested by the University at Buffalo Bills in a tough Mid-American Conference matchup on Thursday.

The Huskies and Bulls were engaged in a defensive stalemate in the first half, holding each other scoreless. Buffalo was aggressive, recording 11 shots while NIU recorded one shot to end another slow first half for the Huskies. Senior goalkeeper Sadie McGill tallied three saves.

“In the beginning, we needed to get the feel for the game, set the tone,” fifth-year senior defender Kylee Hermeyer said. “We needed to win 50/50 balls and establish those things.”

NIU was able to hold strong on the defensive side until the last 20 minutes of the game. Freshman defender/midfielder Ellie Simmons scored the Bulls’ first goal of the game in the 70th minute, giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead.

“For the most part, we did well defensively,” senior midfielder Abby McHugh said. “We set ourselves up to shut them down the best we could. Of course there were some breakdowns here and there but I think we stayed organized.”

Buffalo’s first half aggression continued in the second half. The Bulls put pressure on the Huskies by recording nine more shots in the second half, finishing the game 20 shots total with five of them being shots on goal.

“We definitely expected them to come out and put up some pretty nice shots, but I think we did a  good job managing it,” Hermeyer said.

Freshman goalkeeper Deighton Wamer checked into the game for NIU to begin the second half, which ultimately led to the Huskies first and only goal allowed. 

The Huskie offense was held scoreless for the third time this season. NIU finished with three shots on goal out of seven shots total. Hermeyer, McHugh and sophomore midfielder Katie Bennett were the only Huskies that recorded shots on goal.

Despite the loss, NIU was able to hold the MAC’s top team in Buffalo to only one goal, a sizable accomplishment according to head coach Michael O’Neill.

“They’re number one for a reason,” O’Neill said. “It was a good hard fought performance and we lost to a great strike. We’ve taken lots of positives from a very solid performance.

NIU’s next match will be at home on Sunday at 1 p.m. against Kent State University. The game will be streamed on NIU All-Access. Live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.