Nothing could stop the Northern Illinois University women’s soccer team on Friday night – not a delayed start, not pouring rain, not near-freezing temperatures and not the Chicago State Cougars.
Once the match started, the Huskies (2-4) scored early and often as they defeated Chicago State (1-6) by a score of 5-0 at Commissioners Park in Naperville. Five different NIU players scored, including four freshmen. It was the first time the team scored five goals in a match since Sept. 26, 2004, a 5-0 win against Missouri State.
“With the late start and difficult weather conditions, I was very pleased with how our team maintained its focus and executed tonight,” NIU head coach John Ross said after the game. “It was a nice win made nicer by seeing several players get their first career goals.”
All four freshman that scored for NIU – Marisa Knott (Rosemount, Minn./Rosemount), Lauren Gierman (Prospect Heights, Ill./John Hersey), Sammy O’Brien (Aurora, Ill./West Aurora) and Allie Ingham (Arlington Heights, Ill./Buffalo Grove) – scored their first goals as Huskies on Friday night.
NIU also recorded its second consecutive shutout, the first time since September 2012 the Huskies have achieved that feat.
The first of the goals arrived five minutes into the match as Knott sprinted on to Natalia Peña (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates)’s long pass and chipped the Cougar goalkeeper from 25 yards out for a spectacular first goal for the freshman forward.
It didn’t take long for NIU to double its lead as Gierman notched her first Huskie tally a few minutes later, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
The teams battled through the elements for the remainder of the first half until NIU scored with just eight seconds left in the period. Emily Nulty (Omaha, Neb./Marian) made a rampaging run from right back and crossed the ball to the back post, where O’Brien forced it into the net for her first career NIU goal.
Having seen three freshman score their first NIU goals, junior forward Nicole Gobbo (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) put her name on the scoresheet early in the second half when she headed home Knott’s nice cross.
The Huskies created several other opportunities before freshman forward Ingham also scored her first career goal with seven minutes left, receiving O’Brien’s pass, rounding the goalkeeper and placing the ball into an empty net.
NIU hopes to extend its winning streak to three games on Sunday when the Huskies host SIUE. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex in DeKalb.
For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.