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Northern Michigan University women’s soccer team opens season on road tonight at Minnesota-Duluth

Northern Michigan University's Caroline Halonen fights for the ball with St. Cloud State’s Sally Nelson on defense during a game played in August 2018 at the NMU Soccer Field. (Journal file photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — The women’s soccer team at Northern Michigan University opens its season with road games tonight and Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.

The Wildcats face Minnesota-Duluth at 7 p.m. EDT today and St. Cloud State at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday.

Last year’s leader in points, Caroline Halonen, returns for her sophomore season after earning All-GLIAC Second Team honors a year ago. She had nine goals and six assists.

Four others who scored last year are also back — senior Gaelin Hirabayashi and sophomores Natalie Stampfly, Rachael Erste and Grace Filipiak.

The defense will be anchored by Hirabayashi, a returning All-GLIAC performer, and junior goalkeeper Brianna Frontuto. Hirabayashi led a backline that helped create three shutouts and 11 games that were decided by one goal. Frontuto collected each win in goal for the Wildcats last year and posted a 0.88 goals against average for a team that compiled a 4-11-2 record.

Also returning are seniors Ashleigh Hansen, Kaitlynn Benson and Jamie Montgomery. Hanson appeared in 12 matches and started eight. Montgomery returned from injury in the middle of the season to appear in nine matches.

Junior Andrea Sekloch, sophomore Peyton McNabb and Kiera Scanlan are also back. Sekloch played in 13 games as McNabb and Scanlan both made eight starts. Junior Christine Binn and sophomores Jenna Chappell, Jenna Deering and Sierra Hamil also return.

Junior Allie Jones comes back for her second year and looks to challenge Frontuto for time in goal.

This will be the 22nd time NMU has played Duluth as the Wildcats look to avenge a 2-0 loss last season to the Bulldogs.

Northern defeated St. Cloud 2-1 at home last season.

Fans can follow each contest with online links. Game updates are available at https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats.

Video for tonight’s Minnesota-Duluth is available at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/umd/, while video for Sunday’s St. Cloud encounter is at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/scsu/ and live statistics can be found at https://scsuhuskies.com/sidearmstats/wsoc/summary.

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