The Cardinals (9-4-2, 5-3-0 MAC) scored the only goal of the game early in the second half when Victoria Jacobs headed in a cross following a corner kick in the 54th minute. The Huskies (5-9-2, 3-3-2) lost their third consecutive game on the road in conference play.
NIU head coach John Ross appreciated his team’s effort in the narrow defeat but wants to see the Huskies create more offensively.
“We played really hard and did some good things, but we have to be more dangerous and connect the final pass to create scoring chances,” Ross said. “It was a much-improved performance from our loss on Friday, but it’s still disappointing to lose.”
The Huskies controlled the pace of the game in the first half, earning several free kicks and corner kicks in dangerous areas. NIU goalkeeper Amy Annala (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) didn’t have to make a save in the opening 45 minutes as the players in front of her started very well.
But Ball State responded early in the second half by forcing Annala to make three quick saves before the Cardinals’ pressure resulted in the opening goal by Jacobs.
NIU spent the remainder of the game searching for a tying goal, with Ashley Auble (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) and Lauren Gierman (Prospect Heights, Ill./John Hersey) each having good opportunities to equalize but seeing their shots sail wide.
Despite the Huskies’ best effort, the Cardinals held on, winning their third consecutive game in the MAC while giving NIU its third consecutive defeat.
Coach Ross is looking forward to next weekend already, when the Huskies return home to host Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday and Bowling Green at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“It’ll be good to get back home, where we love playing in front of our fans,” he said. “We know we need to earn more points to secure a berth in the MAC Tournament, and next weekend will be a good opportunity for us to do that. Our goal is qualifying for the tournament because anything can happen when you’re in that.”
Both of those matches next weekend will be at the NIU Soccer Complex. Admission is free to all fans.
For more information on NIU women’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.