SOMERS, Wis. – The Northern Michigan soccer team made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament Friday afternoon. The Wildcats were able to hold No. 16 Northern Kentucky from scoring in the first half but the stronger Norse opened the second half with an early goal and continued the pressure to win the game 4-0.
Northern Michigan head soccer coach Matt Granstrand told his team that if the Wildcats could hold Northern Kentucky off for the first 20 minutes, they would have a chance to win. The Wildcats survived the first 20 minutes and more. Dana Bush recorded eight saves in the first half to keep the ‘Cats in the game.
Hannah Wissel of NKU opened the second half scoring a goal 14 seconds in to take the 1-0 lead. The Norse added two more goals in the 65 minute mark when Amanda Mason (65:19) and Hannah Adams (69:55) scored. Danielle Hogue then finished the scoring on a breakaway from midfield (79:58).
“We played a very good first half but didn’t start the second half with our heads mentally in it. Northern Kentucky is a better team than we are.” Granstrand said.
NMU had chances to score when Amelia Johnson fired a shot on NKU goalkeeper Rachael Wood. Brekelle Sellers also had a shot from the middle of the box to Woods was able to save. Sellers had another header go high at 67:00
Kari Buckel had a couple scoring chances in the second half. Woods made a nice save off a long shot from Buckel. Amelia Johnson had a shot inside the box that was blocked.
NKU outshot the Wildcats 25-8. Dana Bush finished with 9 saves before she was relieved by Jessica Baker. Woods had three saves for NKU.
Northern Michigan finished the season (9-6-5). It was the final game for seniors Dana Bush, Kari Buckel, Dana Stephens and Anne Speers.
“Dana had a good game in goal. She kept us in it. This senior class has been awesome. These girls are the reason I like coaching. Having players like these for four years has been great. I’m going to miss them.”
Granstrand views the game as a stepping stone. “This is a starting point for the program. Next time we need to come to the tournament and win a couple. It’s been a fun year.”
Northern Kentucky (17-2-1) advances to take on host UW-Parkside Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Central.
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