Momentary lapse costly: Northwood strikes for late goal to defeat Northern Michigan University women’s soccer team 2-1

Northern Michigan University’s Isabelle Brusilow, right, kicks the ball with Northwood’s Christina Medici on defense during their game played at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette on Sunday afternoon. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

“I think we fell asleep in that last 10 seconds and ultimately, we got them back in the game.” — Sonia Basma, NMU head women’s soccer coach, on Northwood’s late first-half goal that tied the game


MARQUETTE — If a team wants to get a win on the soccer field, it can’t falter in crunch time, but the Northern Michigan University women’s team was caught napping in the final seconds of the first half Sunday afternoon.

Holding a 1-0 lead, the Wildcats gave up the tying goal with six seconds left in the half and Northwood carried that momentum over into the second, controlling play for the majority of it and eventually emerging with a 2-1 victory.

“I think we fell asleep in that last 10 seconds and ultimately, we got them back in the game,” NMU head coach Sonia Basma said. “We gave them a chance and we can’t fall asleep.

“This conference, this division, you could be 3-0 up and teams are going to be fighting back to get those goals back against you. So we can’t have a minute where we fall asleep because they’ll capitalize on it, which they did. Credit to them for that.”

Play was even throughout the first half with Northwood (3-0) generating the first good scoring opportunity in the 15th minute. Timberwolves forward Juliana Paoletti fought her way into an open area and fired a shot off net, but it rang off the crossbar.

In the 32nd minute, the Wildcats (1-3) got their first chance as Isabela Cardosa got the ball at the near post, but her shot went just wide. Two minutes later, NMU midfielder Isabelle Brusilow also got a good look on net, but her header went wide left.

In the 39th minute, the Wildcats finally cashed in as Natalie Stampfly collected a deflected ball outside the box and sent a shot past Northwood goalie Bridget Adams, beating her low to the far post.

Northern appeared to be in control for the rest of the half, but a momentary defensive lapse in the closing seconds let the Timberwolves’ Katelyn Wilkowski break free. She passed the ball to Paoletti, who sent a long shot on net that bounced high over an outstretched Brianna Frontuto into the net with six seconds left. With Paoletti’s tally, the halftime score was 1-1.

The first half may have been close, but the Timberwolves set the pace in the second and the Wildcats had a hard time keeping up. Northwood had seven corner kicks in the half, keeping the ball in the NMU defensive zone for the majority of it.

The Timberwolves generated a golden opportunity in the 70th minute as they received a free kick, but Kassidy Embrey’s shot went off the bottom of the crossbar and out.

NMU almost took the lead on a goalie mistake two minutes after Embrey’s attempt as Caroline Halonen sent a long shot at Adams. The Timberwolves’ goalie misjudged it and had to make a jumping save at the last moment to keep the ball out of the net.

Northern had one more good opportunity in the 78th minute as Brenna Musser made a sliding shot attempt, but Adams just got her fingers on it to keep the game tied.

After that brief stretch of playing on its heels, Northwood regained control and the only thing that kept the Timberwolves at bay was Frontuto, who made two impressive saves less than a minute apart.

Her first came on a shot by Embrey after NMU’s Gaelin Hirabayashi was issued a yellow card. Thirty-four seconds later, Frontuto made a leaping save on Isabel Anderson’s attempt and the remained locked at 1-1.

The Timberwolves continued to put pressure on the Wildcats defense and Frontuto in the final minutes and then caught a break off a corner kick.

Northwood attempted a shot after collecting the corner, but was denied by a diving Frontuto. Unfortunately for her and the Wildcats, her save went right to the Timberwolves’ Karina Parker and she tapped the ball into the open net to give Northwood a 2-1 advantage with less than four minutes remaining.

“We’re creating (offensive) opportunities, but we’ve got to be better in the final third,” Basma said. “We do. We’ve got to be sharper.

“We’re still figuring it out and it’s a brand-new team, of course. The most important thing is obviously getting ready for conference play, but we’ve got to be better. It’s as simple as that.”

NMU heads to Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday before returning home to take on those same Rangers Sept. 27 in Marquette.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.


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