MARQUETTE - The results may not always show up in the win-loss column, but the inexperienced Northern Michigan University women's soccer team is still working on keeping momentum as the season winds down.
On Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats lost at home 3-0 to Ashland in rainy and windy conditions.
NMU head coach Matt Granstrand discussed his positive outlook on the team's 3-10 overall and 2-7 GLIAC record.
Northern Michigan University sophomore Tevun Sellers, left, sets to kick the ball while Ashland’s Melissa Hill looks on in Sunday’s GLIAC matchup. (Journal photo by Amanda Monthei)
"I love our character and the way we play and we fight," he said. "I don't think we quit and I love the effort. We just can't seem to catch a break, we make a mistake and we get scored on.
"But I try to stay positive because we're a good team, but a young team. Our record I don't think reflects how good we are."
Sunday marked the second loss of the weekend for the Wildcats, who also lost on Friday to Ohio Dominican, 2-0.
Yet with two losses at home this weekend and two more prior to that, Granstrand remains happy with where the Wildcats are at, even if they can't seem to catch a break against big GLIAC teams.
"It is painful, and it's definitely growing pains, but you have to see the big picture and keep working because the future is very bright," he said of a team with only five seniors and 10 freshmen.
The first two goals of Sunday's game were scored unassisted in the first half by Ashland's Krista Lewis, while the third came with 12 minutes remaining by Melissa Hall on a corner kick. The Eagles improved to 5-10 and 4-6.
Northern played two goalies, sophomore Nicole Musi manning the net first and making three saves while also allowing all three goals, followed by freshman Shelby Conard, who was in the net the final 20 minutes.
"I think all around we're making improvements," Granstrand said. "We're still struggling to finish, which is obviously a key ingredient, and we're struggling in the goal sometimes, but we're just young and we're asking an awful lot out of our very young players."
Senior Amelia Johnson continued to lead the Northern offense in attempts, taking three shots on goal in the game. Northern had eight chances on goal in all, forcing Ashland keeper Rebecca Plescia to make four saves, with Ashland attempted 11 shots.
"We're just a beat-up team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing," Granstrand said. "We play really well at times and then we make mistakes that new players make, like a bad pass or whatever, but it's just growing pains."
Northern has four regular-season games left, traveling to Ferris State on Friday and Grand Valley State on Sunday before finishing the season at home the following weekend.
"We're just trying to find a formula that works," Granstand said. "Even this late in the year, we're just trying to find a formula that gives us success and that's the challenge."