Popp leads NMU men’s scoring explosion

MARQUETTE — Junior forward Sam Popp scored a goal and picked up two assists in a span of less than 20 minutes in the second half as the men’s soccer team from Northern Michigan University defeated Ashland on Sunday afternoon to pull out a weekend home split.

The Wildcats won 3-0 on Sunday to improve to 3-6-1 overall and 1-5 in the GLIAC. The home weekend began with a 1-0 loss to Tiffin on Friday.

The NMU women had a more difficult time on the road even though they allowed just one goal all weekend. Northern held on for a scoreless double-overtime tie against Saginaw Valley State on Sunday after falling 1-0 at Northwood on Friday.

NMU men split

On Sunday, Popp assisted on goals by sophomore forward David Feldmann in the 52nd minute and freshman forward Birkir Baldursson in the 62nd before getting his own score in the 69th minute.

In addition, sophomore midfielder Edgar Astorga picked up an assist on Baldursson’s goal, while sophomore midfielder Sveinn Karlsson assisted on Popp’s score.

Northern held a huge 29-9 advantage in total shots, including 11-2 in shots on goal. In the game’s first 25 minutes, NMU outshot Ashland 8-0, four of those shots on goal.

The visiting Eagles (4-5, 0-5) picked up the pace later in the first half, getting three corner kicks in quick succession not long before halftime.

Northern sophomore goalkeeper Filippo Torelli posted his second shutout, making two saves, to improve to 3-4-1. His goals-against average fell to 1.40.

But the Wildcats found scoring more difficult on Friday when Tiffin posted a 1-0 win despite having just one shot on goal.

NMU held a 13-5 advantage in total shots, including 5-1 in shots on goal. But it was the Dragons’ Matthew Tait who connected just after halftime in the 47th minute for the game’s only score.

Northern had its chances early, outshooting Tiffin 8-1 in the first half. Dragons goalkeeper Cary Wilson made saves on shots by Astorga and sophomore teammate Lewis Murray in the first half.

Sophomore Brayden Wilinski worked in front of the Wildcats net after Torelli had to sit out due to receiving a red card in Northern’s previous game, a 2-0 loss at Davenport on Sept. 24.

The Wildcats had three shots in the final 20 minutes Friday.

NMU hits the road this week, playing GLIAC matches at Northwood at noon Friday and at SVSU at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

NMU women tie, lose

On Sunday at University Center, the Wildcats had to feel fortunate to play to a tie considering host SVSU held a 33-10 advantage in shots, which included a 26-4 mismatch in regulation. The two OT periods were much more balanced, with the Cardinals holding a 7-6 edge in shots.

Freshman goalkeeper Brianna Frontuto stopped all 10 shots on goal she faced with the defensive back row credited with contesting nearly every one of those shots. Frontuto now has 51 saves, fifth most in the GLIAC, and her third solo shutout of the season dropped her GAA to 1.39.

NMU senior forward Madison Hamilla had five shots, including one on goal, while freshman forward Jenna Halonen managed two shots and a shot on goal.

Nearly the opposite happened Friday in Midland as the Wildcats outshot Northwood 17-8, including 4-3 on shots on goal.

But the game’s only goal was scored by the Timberwolves’ Ashton Brooks in the 32nd minute off a corner kick.

Northern managed nine shots in the second half between the 49th and 82nd minutes while allowing Northwood none. During that time, a shot by NMU junior defender Raven Mitchell rebounded off the crossbar to freshman defender Kaitlynn Benson, whose follow-up also went off the crossbar.

Wildcats junior defender Anna Worman and senior midfielder Abby Cook each took four shots, two of Worman’s on goal. Frontuto made a pair of saves as NMU’s three-game undefeated streak was snapped.

The Wildcats return home for five games at the NMU Soccer Field over the next three weekends, starting with a game against Michigan Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.