After earning a 5-5-1 Mid-American Conference record, the Huskies will head to the MAC Tournament for the second time in three years Sunday, Oct. 31, under NIU head women’s soccer coach Carrie Barker.
The sixth-seeded Huskies will take on No. 3 seed and 2010 Mid-American Conference Co-Champion Central Michigan at 1 p.m. in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
After finishing sixth of 12 teams in the league, the Huskies (9-8-1, 5-5-1 MAC) will be face Central Michigan (13-4-1, 10-1-0) for the second time in Mount Pleasant this season Sunday. The Huskies and Chippewas squared off just two weeks ago at the CMU Soccer Complex, where NIU fell 3-0 to CMU in the contest.
“Central Michigan is a strong program, we know it’s going to be a physical and tough battle,” Barker said. “Playing in the MAC Tournament is what we’ve been preparing for all season. We look forward to competing on Sunday.”
The Cardinal and Black have seen a consistent team attack this season, with 13 Huskies registering points, 11 finding the back of the net and 10 credited with assists. Junior Kelsey Passaglia leads the Huskies offensively registering a team-high 11 points, off a team-high four goals and team-leading three assists. Passaglia has also tallied 38 shots to lead NIU and rank tenth in the MAC in shot attempts.
Sophomore Shelbi Johnson has come alive on the offensive attack this season, recording three goals and two assists for eight points during the regular season. Junior Megan Harry and freshman Frances Boukidis have each tallied five points for NIU, with Harry’s five points coming off one goal and a team-leading three assists, while Boukidis has notched two goals and one assist.
Nici Newquist, Kylie Revelle, Shannnon Renner, Lauren Eberts and Amy Carr have been the primary starting defenders for an NIU backline that has held its opponents to a 0.391 shot on goal percentage. The Huskies have held its opponents scoreless seven times, to rank third in the league in shutouts. NIU also ranks fifth in the conference in both goals allowed (23) and goals against average (1.26).
Defensively, Central Michigan leads the MAC in goals allowed (9), goals against average (0.49), and shutouts (12). Shay Mannino and Stephanie Turner have split time between the posts for the Chippewas, combining for 12 shutouts and 51 saves. Offensively, Laura Twidle leads CMU with 14 points off 6 goals and two assists.
Following Sunday’s matches, the highest remaining seed will host the 2010 MAC semifinals on Friday, Nov. 5. The championship match is scheduled for just two days later, with the winner of the MAC Championship receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.