In her first and only chance of the match, junior Frances Boukidis scored Northern Illinois’ golden goal in the 14th minute to lift the Huskies over Akron, 1-0, in front of a Cub Cadet Field women’s soccer record 1,165 spectators.
It is NIU’s first MAC win of the season and evens its conference record, 1-1-1.
“We were very organized as a team defensively,” said head coach John Ross.
“We did a good job of winning one-on-one battles and creating our offensive chances from there. We had chances to generate more offense but we were missing that final pass to create a shot,” Ross added. “Cori did her thing to dribble around the defenders and she did great to get the ball to Fran who just closed in at the front of the goal.”
The Zips controlled possession of the ball for most of the 90 minutes but were unable to maintain that control when entering the Huskies defensive third.
Goalkeeper Amy Carr played a large part in that during the first half as she came off of her line several times to catch and clear passes and crosses in her path. The Zips outshot the Huskies 4-3 in the first stanza but NIU lead on frame, 2-0.
With the Huskies attacking third on the move, junior Cori Frankenberg played a ball at the top of goalkeeper’s six-yard box to Boukidis and La Crescenta, Calif., native put away the shot for her first goal of the season.
While the Huskies continued to attack when given the opportunity, the defense rose to the occasion at FirstEnergy Stadium. In the 63rd minute, Akron forward Katie Wise ran after a loose ball in the team’s attacking third and created a one-on-one situation with Carr in net.
Wise rifled a shot inside the 18-yard box and Carr threw her body in front of it to clear the ball outside of the box. Ashley Hughes then collected the rebounded shot and fired on a wide open net, but defender Lauren Eberts deflected the shot with a diving header to clear the ball past the end line for a Zips corner kick. NIU then defended the corner to end the threat and keep a zero on Akron’s scoreboard.
“Those were definitely the plays of the game,” said Ross after the match. “Amy obviously made a great save stopping the first shot but Eberts did a great job repositioning herself in the back with her header to clear the ball.”
After the threat, Northern Illinois then only allowed two shots, one high and the other wide, as the defense played soundly the rest of the half.
The Huskies return to the pitch at Buffalo Sunday for an 11 a.m. kickoff.