Two late goals from substitutes Maggie Renfro and Jess Wooldridge propelled the Northern Illinois University women’s soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Ohio on Sunday afternoon at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
After a closely contested game that had few scoring chances, Renfro (Chaska, Minn./Holy Family Catholic) broke the deadlock in the 78th minute before Wooldridge (Center Point, Iowa/Center-Point Urbana) scored with a fantastic chip in the 82nd minute to seal the three points for the Huskies. Both players came off the bench to lift NIU.
“It’s great to keep this nice run we’re on going,” Ross said. “Our team is playing extremely hard and just found a way to win today. We’re taking it one game at a time, and that’s been working well for us.”
With a 3-0-1 record in the MAC after the win, NIU now has 10 points in its first four games in conference play for the first time in school history.
Neither team could find a breakthrough in a tight first half as the two saves leaders in the MAC – Ohio’s Nicole Amari and NIU’s Amy Annala (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) – went mostly untested.
As the second half wore on, NIU slowly started to push the Bobcats (5-7-0, 2-2-0 MAC) back into their own defensive box. The Huskies had several shots blocked before their late scoring blitz decided the match.
Lauren Gierman (Prospect Heights, Ill./John Hersey) played a great cross to the back post where Renfro slid to reach the ball, directing it toward the goal. Wooldridge pressured a Bobcat defender to deflect the ball into the net, resulting in Renfro’s second goal of the season.
With momentum in NIU’s favor, Wooldridge then sealed the match a few minutes later. She received the ball in the right edge of the box and deftly chipped the ball over Amari and into the top left corner of the net for her first goal of the season.
“I’m really happy that I was able to score that goal,” Wooldridge said. “Any time I can help my team win it feels good. We really worked hard for that win and it feels good to be undefeated in the MAC still.”
The Huskies host Buffalo on Friday night in a top-of-the-MAC clash as the only two undefeated teams in the league play each other at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and admission is free for all fans.
“That game will be very exciting for us,” Ross said. “It’ll be a night game, and we know our fans will come out and make it a great atmosphere.”
For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.