DeKALB — Women’s soccer suffered an onslaught of goals Thursday, resulting in a 7-0 blowout to Bowling Green State University at the Soccer and Track and Field Complex. The team falls to 0-8-1 in Mid-American Conference play, eliminating MAC tournament hopes.
Head Coach Julie Colhoff was not at the game due to receiving a red card during the team’s match against the University of Akron on Sunday. NIU sophomore goalkeeper Julia Lentz had four saves in her third-straight start as junior goalkeeper Megan Donnally continues to recover from an injury suffered earlier this month.
While at times the offense looked better than in weeks’ past, the team struggled to get shots on goal.
“[We could have been] a little bit more composed when we won the ball,” NIU Assistant Coach Eddy Garza said. “We had options, but we just seemed to turn the ball over right back to the other team. So every time that you give the opposition another opportunity to attack, it’s going to take longer for us to win the ball and try to create.”
The Huskies advanced the ball into Falcon territory, but failed to put together organized attacks.
Part of the problem was the speed of the Falcons. They were faster overall compared to the Huskies, beating NIU to seemingly every loose ball. When NIU went on a run after breaking up a BGSU play, the Falcons organized on defense so quickly, the Huskie forwards were surrounded instantly, making passing nearly impossible.
Senior midfielder Abby Gregg went up the left side of the field with the ball several times in the first period, but would be unable to get a decent look on goal for her team, as the Huskies failed to put numbers in the attacking third. BGSU had no problem getting the ball back to lead counter attacks.
BGSU’s offense played phenomenally. The team’s ball control was unmatched, as they could accurately and effectively pick where they wanted to send the ball. They were able to control the pace of the game for most of its entirety.
Garza said the team made an adjustment in the second half to put more pressure on BGSU’s center mids to create more opportunities for the Huskie offense, but BGSU was able to counter at times, which Garza credits to the experience of BGSU’s older players.
The changed tactics led to several goals, as Falcons players attacked the goal and sent accurate shots past Lentz, who could do little to stop them at that range. At one point during the second half, BGSU orchestrated three goals within six minutes, two of which came from BGSU sophomore forward Sarah Allen.
NIU team captain and senior defender Lauren Neslund believes these opportunities for BGSU were a result of the lack of discipline in the Huskies’ one-on-one defending.
“Our coaches always talk about closing that space to not allow them to dribble to get so close to our goal,” Neslund said. “I think we need to do a better job at that, just closing the space.”
With the loss, the Huskies’ record falls to 2-12-2, with only two games remaining in their season. The team is officially out of the playoff picture.
“I think we know we could’ve done better,” Neslund said “I think that’s what makes us so upset. We could’ve been better.”
Women’s soccer returns to the field 2 p.m. Sunday at the Soccer and Track and Field Complex to face the University of Toledo.