Jess Wooldridge (Center Point, Iowa/Center Point-Urbana) scored two goals for the NIU Huskies women’s soccer team Sunday, good enough for a 2-2 tie versus the Ball State Cardinals.
The Huskies faced a barrage of shots in the first half and were outshot 27-11 in the game overall, but the defense held for the NIU. The Huskies are now 4-9-3 with a 2-4-2 record in the MAC.
In the scoreless first half of the game, the teams combined for 17 shots, 14 from the opposing Cardinals. Most of those shots were off-target, however, with only seven headed for the net. Six were aimed at the Huskie goal, but Amy Carr (Hemel Hempstead, England/Townsend Church of England) saved each one.
In the second half, Ball State wasted little time in finally getting one through. In the 52nd minute, Cardinal forward Nicole Pembleton scored her third goal of the season to give her team a 1-0 lead. Following the goal, the game settled for a bit. It wasn’t until the 71st minute that things turned around for NIU, when Wooldridge scored unassisted to even the game at 1-1.
Ten minutes after her first score, Wooldridge delivered for NIU again.
Courtney Ksiazek (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) took a free kick for the Huskies, which found Wooldridge, and she punched it through to score her second goal of the game. It was a breakout day for Wooldridge, who scored two goals in a game for the first time in her young career.
“Wooldridge was very good out there today,” said head coach John Ross. “She had shown flashes of brilliance in the past. We knew she had the ability to score. Today, she just looked comfortable on the field.”
NIU’s 2-1 lead would not last for long, however. Less than 30 seconds later, the Cardinals tied the game when Ball State’s Elaina Musleh scored on a header. With that, the score was 2-2, and neither team scored during the last nine minutes of regulation. As such, they headed to overtime.
Carr had a 11 saves on the day, a career-high, and her biggest save came during the first overtime period. An NIU foul close to the Huskie goal gave the Cardinals a penalty kick in the 93rd minute. Victoria Jacobs took the kick for Ball State, and Carr was able to make the save, keeping the score tied.
“Amy’s confidence just keeps on rising,” Ross said. “It’s great to have a goaltender like her. She’s not deficient in any area. She’s a strong in every way.”
The teams played two overtime periods in search of a winner, but neither could get that last score. The tie is NIU’s third of the season.
The Huskies are officially done with regular season road affairs. Next up for NIU is Kent State, who will come to DeKalb for a night game at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25.
For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.