Northern Illinois played its first home MAC match of the season Friday in a late afternoon affair against the Akron Zips.
After 90 minutes, the Huskies were out on top in a 2-0 final thanks to their defensive play and two goals from Nicole Gobbo, claiming their third win of the season. The team is now 3-7-1 overall with a 3-0-1 record at home this season.
“This was a great match for us,” said head coach John Ross. “I saw a lot of effort out of these players.”
From the start of the game, NIU put the pressure opposing Akron. The Huskies had an early opportunity to score when a group of players from both teams were fighting for the ball close to the Akron goal. However, the play ended when the ball deflected off of a Huskie and over the goal to end the scoring threat.
The Huskies kept the aggression up after the missed opportunity, often controlling the ball in the Zips’ half of the field. This paid off when Gobbo beat multiple defenders to score a goal in the 25th minute of the game. This was Gobbo’s fifth goal of the season, and it put NIU ahead in the game, 1-0. The teams went into the halftime break at that score.
Gobbo wasn’t finished in this game yet.
She wasted little time in the second half to claim her second goal of the affair and her sixth of the season. It came off of a high pass over the defense from Jackie Wandt (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield East), who was set up for the pass by Courtney Ksiazek (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley). The pass landed perfectly in front of Gobbo, and she drove it past the diving goaltender to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. That score would hold for the remainder of the game.
Coming into this game, Gobbo (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) had already proven herself as an offensive threat in MAC play with two goals in conference matches thus far. She added two more to her total in this game against Akron, bringing her total to four goals in three conference games. “She just keeps getting better and better,” Ross said.
The shutout was the second of the season for Amy Carr (Hemel Hempstead, England/Townsend Church of England) and the rest of the Huskie defense. It was Carr’s 17th career shutout. She is second in career shutouts during the history of the women’s soccer program at NIU, coming behind only Lindsey Curnock, who holds the record at 29.
The Huskies will face Buffalo at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at home.