Second-half struggles hold back Women’s soccer in conference loss

First-year forward Nicole Barham prepares to boot the ball Sept. 29 in a match against Kent State University in an eventual 1-0 loss.

DeKALB — Women’s soccer suffered its fourth-straight loss, its third in Mid-American Conference play, after being defeated 3-1 Friday by Eastern Michigan University.

The Huskies were able to keep up with the Eagles in the first half but fell behind in the second as EMU put quality shots on goal. NIU first-year forward Nicolette Gossage scored the lone goal for the Huskies, while NIU junior goalkeeper Megan Donnally had ten saves.

In the fourth minute, EMU attempted the first shot on goal. EMU sophomore midfielder Kylie Frantz tried her luck, but Donnally was there to make the save.

In the fifth minute however, EMU had another shot on goal, this time with the ball sailing to the back of the net off a shot from EMU junior forward Sabrina McNeill. The goal put the Eagles up 1-0 over the Huskies.

Donnally would not have much time to rest after the goal, as in the sixth minute EMU senior forward Kristin Hullibarger attempted a shot. Donnally was there to make her second save.

Finally, in the 33rd minute, the Huskies were able to get a shot on goal. Gossage scored off a high right shot. The goal tied the game at 1-1.

Late in the first half, NIU put up a second shot on goal. NIU senior forward Abby Gregg attempted the shot, but it was saved by EMU.

At the end of the first half, the score remained 1-1. The Huskies put up five shots, two being on goal, while the Eagles put up 11 shots, seven being on goal. Donnally had six saves, while EMU had one.

The second half was not as kind to NIU, as the team was only able to attempt four shots, three of which were on goal. EMU attempted 15 shots in the second half, six were on goal, two of which resulted in goals.

“I think something we need to improve on, obviously, is sustaining our efforts for a whole match,” Head Coach Julie Colhoff said. “We got out-worked in the second half when the game was even, which obviously can’t happen.”

The Huskies got things rolling in the second half when senior defender Jennie Nailor’s shot was blocked by EMU junior goalkeeper Mabel Dunn.

In the 54th minute, NIU first-year midfielder Isabella Sabo attempted her first shot on goal, but Dunn was there to make the save.

In the 60th minute, EMU first-year midfielder Amanda Cripps attempted the Eagles' first shot on goal for the second half. It was saved by Donnally.

In the 62nd minute, Shira attempted her third shot, this time finding the back of the net as the Eagles would go up 2-1. Sarah Ash was credited with the assist.

In the 67th minute, Hullibarger attempted her second shot of the game but ended up giving Donnally her tenth save of the match.

The Huskies finally put up another shot on goal in the 73rd minute. First-year forward Nicole Barham tried to score, but Dunn was there to make the stop.

In the 79th minute, Cripps was able to score off her third shot attempt on goal, putting the Eagles up 3-1 with time winding down. Hullibarger was credited with the assist. 

The Huskies struggled to attempt shots at a high volume again. The team put up nine shots, five of which were on goal.

However, this was an improvement from Sunday’s game after only having seven shots with two on goal and going scoreless. EMU put up 26 shots, 13 of which were on goal.

With the loss, women’s soccer sits at 2-7-1 and 0-3 in MAC play.

“We’re in the MAC, which is a really competitive women’s soccer conference,” Colhoff said. “If you don’t show up, there’s a good chance the other team will, and you’ll get punished for it.”

NIU will return to the field noon Sunday against Central Michigan University at Kelly Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

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