Women’s soccer to battle MAC foes Akron, Ohio

Huskies women's soccer teamIn the midst of a three game unbeaten streak, the Northern Illinois women’s soccer team will look to improve its 2-1-1 Mid-American Conference record this weekend.

The Huskies (6-4-1, 2-1-1 MAC) head east to take on Akron(3-8-0, 1-3-0 MAC) and Ohio (4-5-2, 1-2-1 MAC) in a pair of road contests. NIU will face the Zips at 6:30 p.m. today in Akron, Ohio, before taking on Ohio at noon Sunday in Athens, Ohio.

NIU concluded a three-game homestand last weekend when the Huskies downed Buffalo 1-0 and tied Kent State 1-1. Last weekend’s conference play improved the Huskies to 2-0-1 in their past three games, and 5-1-1 overall, at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.

Entering the weekend, the Huskies are tied for second in the MAC with five shutouts, rank third in goals allowed (11) and hold a third place goals against average of 0.98. Freshman goalkeeper Amy Carr is tied for first in the league with five shutouts and owns a 0.90 GAA to sit fifth in the MAC.

The Huskies’ offensive attack has been spread across the entire NIU squad as seven Huskies have found the back of the net this season. Junior Kelsey Passaglia and sophomore Shelbi Johnson lead the Huskie charge with two goals each, while junior Megan Harry leads the team in assists with three. Passaglia leads NIU, and ranks fourth in the conference with 29 shots, while leading the Huskies in points (5) and shots on goal (16).

In the first match of a four-game road swing, the Huskies will take on Akron at Lee Jackson field.

Rachel Phillip has led the Zips in conference play, recording two goals tied for ninth in conference play with four points. On the defensive side, Zips goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert ranks fourth in the MAC in saves (56) and saves per game (5.09) and has registered 16 saves in four conference match-ups to average four saves a game. Friday’s meeting is the 10th between the NIU and Akron. The Huskies hold a 5-3-1 series advantage over the Zips.

The Huskies enter Sunday’s contest with a 9-6-2 series advantage over Ohio. Ohio enters the weekend sitting fourth in the conference with 61 saves, and tied for third in the league with four shutouts. Ohio’s Mattie Liston is between the posts and boasts a 0.836 save percentage. In conference play, NIU and Ohio are tied for fourth in goals allowed with five and tied for fourth in the league with two shutouts each since the start of MAC action.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Northern Illinois women’s soccer head coach Carrie Barker recognizes that the Huskies will face both Akron and Ohio on the road for the first time since the 2007 season.

“We know it’s going to be two tough matches,” Barker said. “We’re looking forward to traveling to both Akron and Ohio. This will be my first experience playing at their facilities.”

The Huskies will continue MAC action on the road when they head Friday, Oct. 15, to Eastern Michigan and Sunday, Oct. 17, to Central Michigan.

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

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