Women’s soccer to open conference play today

Huskie women's soccerNIU’s women’s soccer team will look to keep its winning momentum going as it opens its 2010 Mid-American Conference season this weekend.

The Huskies travel today to Toledo, Ohio, to take on the Rockets at 3 p.m. at the Scott Park Stadium. NIU will then return home at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept.26, to host Ball State at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

Northern Illinois (4-3-0) enters the weekend after posting a pair of shutout wins last weekend. The Huskies recorded a 1-0 win Sept. 17 over Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Sept. 17, before earning a 1-0 victory Sept. 19 against Green Bay.

As one of the strongest defenses in the conference this season, the Huskie backline is second in the league in goals allowed (6) and goals against average (0.86). With 22 saves, three shutouts and a 0.86 GAA this season, NIU goalkeeper Amy Carr ranks among the best in the MAC. The freshman currently ranks first in shutouts (3) and shutouts per game (0.43), and sits in fourth with a GAA of 0.86.

NIU women's soccerOffensively, the Huskies can attribute their success to a team effort as five Huskies have found the back of net and nine have earned points for NIU this season.

Junior Kelsey Passaglia leads the Huskie charge with two goals, five points and 18 shot attempts. Junior Megan Harry and freshman Devin Bond lead NIU in assists with two marks each.

The Huskies will look to build on this offensive effort as they take on Toledo (4-2-2). The Rockets are coming off a 2-1 overtime victory Sept. 17 against Wright State. Averaging 2.12 goals a game, Toledo is led by junior Kristin Lynn who ranks third in the conference in goals (4) and fourth in points (10). The Huskies enter the match with a 4-9-2 all-time record against Toledo after battling to a 0-0 draw last season in DeKalb.

Following Friday’s contest the Huskies will kick-off a three-game homestand by hosting Ball State (6-2-0). The Cardinals have won three-straight games heading into the weekend. With three shutouts this season Ball State is tied with NIU for second in the league in shutouts and BSU goalie Aubrey Buehler holds a 0.81 GAA to rank second in the league. NIU and Ball State have split the all-time series, 4-4-3, after the Huskies posted a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals in 2009.

Following the Huskies’ intense training and successful non-conference season, Northern Illinois head women’s soccer coach Carrie Barker feels the Huskies are prepared to open MAC competition.

“We’ve trained hard this week and our focus has been very good,” Barker said. “We’re excited to start conference play.”

NIU will continue MAC play next weekend, when the Huskies host Buffalo Friday, Oct. 1, before facing Kent State Sunday, Oct. 3, at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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