With the result, NIU improves to 5-6-2 overall, 3-0-2 in league play, while Buffalo moves to 8-2-2 overall, 4-0-1 in the MAC.
“Tonight showed why both teams are unbeaten at this point in the league. Both of us work hard defensively, are organized defensively and work extremely hard all over the field,” said NIU head coach John Ross.
Buffalo had the first two shots of the contest as Kassidy Kidd and Katie Roberts each fired wide within the first 10 minutes of the contest.
NIU created its first chance of the match in the 19th minute as senior Ashley Neubeck (Lindenhurst, Ill./Lakes Community) took a shot from outside the box that tailed wide of goal. A minute later, the Huskies tested Buffalo goalkeeper Laura Dougall for the first time as junior Emily Nulty (Omaha, Neb./Marian) forced the Bulls goalkeeper into a save.
The Huskies continue to push for the opening goal, earning a trio of corner kicks within a two-minute span around the half-hour mark, but Buffalo was able to clear the danger.
Freshman goalkeeper Amy Annala (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) was called upon for the first time with less than a minute to play in the first half as she stopped a shot by Andrea Niper as the game went to the intermission scoreless.
After the break, NIU had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring in the 51st minute. Junior Kate Wirthlin (Mequon, Wis./Homestead) tried an overhead kick off a corner by senior Gwen Sabo (Alton, Ill./Alton) that forced a good save from Dougall.
In the 56th minute, Annala made the save of the night to keep the game scoreless. Kidd cut inside for a shot toward the backpost but the NIU freshman goalkeeper was able to tip it away for a corner kick.
Buffalo created more shots in the second 45 minutes, but were unable to get in behind the Huskie defense as most of the shots came from well outside the box.
“The backline did great. Our midfielders also tracked back really well,” Ross said of limiting Buffalo’s chances. “Anytime Buffalo had a counter or some room, our midfielders were helping to double down and congest that space.”
The Bulls had the only shots of the first 10-minute overtime period, but like the second half; those chances came from outside the box.
NIU started the second overtime quickly, earning three corners in the first five minutes of the final period. The Huskies also created a pair of shots as Neubeck had a chance in the 104th minute and Wirthlin had a look in the 105th, but both chances were blocked away by the Buffalo defense.
In the final five minutes, Buffalo called Annala into action three times on a header and a pair of shots from distance, but the Huskie goalkeeper was up to the task as the match finished scoreless.
Annala finished the match with seven saves as she picked up her second consecutive shutout. Dougall made three stops in goal for Buffalo.
The Huskies will be back in action Sunday, Oct. 12, as they travel to Akron. Game time against the Zips is slated for 11 a.m. CT. For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.