Despite dominating the second half Sunday afternoon, the Northern Illinois University women’s soccer team couldn’t overcome an early deficit and dropped a 1-0 decision against SIUE at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
The Huskies (2-5-0) started slowly and conceded a goal in the 10th minute when Caroline Hoefert scored for the visiting Cougars (2-3-1), and that moment ended up being the difference between the two teams.
“It was disappointing the way we started the game,” NIU head coach John Ross said. “Conceding an early goal wasn’t what we wanted, but I was impressed with how we responded.”
After falling behind, NIU grew into the game by dominating possession and forcing numerous corner kicks and throw-ins. Sammy O’Brien (Aurora, Ill./West Aurora) utilized her exciting flip-throws and Gwen Sabo (Alton, Ill./Alton) delivered several dangerous corners, but the Huskies just couldn’t force an equalizing goal into the net.
“Once they got the lead, we got after them,” Ross said. “We controlled the second half, and that’s the way I expect us to play all of the time. We should’ve finished a couple chances. We need to start expecting where the ball will be, not reacting when it’s already there. That’s how you score goals.”
NIU’s constant pressure could’ve been rewarded with a penalty kick on numerous occasions, but the referee waved away the home team’s appeals for a few questionable handballs and fouls in the SIUE box. The Huskies finished with an 11-6 edge in corner kicks.
Also of note, freshman goalkeeper Amy Annala (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) made four saves, including one tremendous stop late in the first half on an SIUE breakaway that kept NIU within one goal.
NIU returns to action for its last non-conference game at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, when Green Bay comes to DeKalb.
For more information on NIU soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.