Amber Best leads Huskie takedown of EMU

Freshman shines as NIU honors seniors


Mingda Wu

NIU freshman forward Amber Best (center) battles for possession of the ball with two Eastern Michigan University players. Best tallied both of NIU’s goals in its 2-0 win over the Eagles on Thursday at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Freshman forward Amber Best led the way for NIU’s women’s soccer team with two goals in Thursday’s match against Eastern Michigan University.

The Huskies (6-6-4, 2-4-2 MAC) shut out the Eagles (3-10-3, 2-6-1 MAC) by a score of 2-0, successfully defending NIU’s home field.

NIU honored three of its seniors, all defenders, before the match. Fifth-year seniors Jenna Lewey, Kylee Hermeyer and graduate student Jordyn King were each given a bouquet of flowers and a framed portrait of themselves playing.

The game began with a quick strike from Best. Best scored in the second minute of the game off of a corner kick from freshman midfielder Aubrey Robertson.

“In practice yesterday, coach (O’Neill) and I worked on rebounding,” Best said. “I was just doing what he told me to do and feed off second balls and then poked it in.”

The Huskies’ defense and offensive execution led to another goal in the 31st minute of the game. Best scored once again, this time from a fast break opportunity. Junior midfielder Claudia Muessig took possession of the ball from the Eagles and assisted Best to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

Best recorded three shots on goal along with the two goals scored.

“I think our press was very good in the first half,” Best said. “They didn’t really get around us or play to the middle, which I think really helped. For me to score and put constant pressure on them really helped us get the result we wanted.”

NIU only allowed two shots on goal in the first half. Senior goalkeeper Sadie McGill recorded two saves on four total shots faced.

Two saves from McGill in the 55th minute stopped Eastern Michigan from cutting the Huskie lead in half. McGill recorded seven saves throughout her defensive performance.

“I’m glad I was there whenever my team really needed me,” McGill said. “I noticed that everyone was getting frantic, so it was important to try and relax and stay dialed in.”

Head coach Michael O’Neill praised McGill’s efforts, but was hopeful her services were not needed as much as they were needed in Thursday’s game.

“We were hoping that she wouldn’t have had to have that much of an impact,” O’Neill said. “Kudos to her because she’s coming in late towards the season. She’s made some big time saves, and we needed it tonight. She was a big part of the win.”

The Eagles were not able to generate any momentum on the offensive side in the second half, ending the match in a 2-0 victory for NIU.

NIU will face Miami University at Bobby Kramig Field at 1 p.m. CST on Saturday in Oxford, Ohio. Live statistics can be accessed on SIDEARM Stats.