NMU women strikers open season at home Thursday

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s soccer team opens its season at home Thursday afternoon and remains there for a Sunday afternoon match, both against Minnesota schools.

The Wildcats face St. Cloud State at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the NMU Soccer Field before taking on Minnesota-Duluth at noon Sunday there.

Several online links can keep fans up to date — for the game program, something new this fall, visit http://www.nmuwildcats.com/programs; for Twitter updates, visit https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats; for live statistics, visit https://bit.ly/2MsULK9 for Thursday’s match and https://bit.ly/2MM4ISx for Sunday’s; and for live video, visit https://bit.ly/2gKCaqA.

Last season, Northern compiled a 4-11-2 overall record and 2-5-2 in the GLIAC, advancing to the conference tournament for the fifth straight year and 10th time in 11 years after earning the No. 7 seed under first-year coach Sonia Basma.

A week after clinching their tourney spot by defeating Ferris State, a 2017 highlight for the Wildcats was when forward Jenna Halonen scored a double-overtime goal in the 103rd minute to wrap up a regular season-ending game over Michigan Tech.

As a freshman, Halonen exploded out of the gate with 18 points on four goals and a pair of assists. Four of her returning teammates this season also had at least a point last year, including senior captain Aimee Colla with a pair of goals.

Sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Frontuto will anchor the Wildcats’ defense after appearing in every game and earning four solo — full game — shutouts. In addition, senior captain and defender Sophia Sachs has played every game in her three seasons at NMU and will be a stalwart on the back line.

Among the 31 players on the roster are 14 newcomers, 12 freshman and a pair of transfers.

With this week’s opponents, St. Cloud holds a narrow 5-3 all-time edge over NMU, including a 3-0 win over the Wildcats in 2017. The Huskies were 8-8-2 last year.

UMD has a bigger 14-3-3 advantage of NMU, including a 2-0 win in Northern’s home opener a year ago as the Bulldogs compiled a 10-5-4 record.

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