Northern Michigan University women’s soccer season ends at hands of national No. 2 Grand Valley
ALLENDALE — Northern Michigan University did something Sunday that no other GLIAC women’s soccer team did all season, but it wasn’t enough from being eliminated in the opening-round quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
The Wildcats put a goal in on No. 1 seed Grand Valley State, but the nation’s No. 2 team still prevailed 5-1 to advance and host the semifinals and finals later this week.
GVSU was not only 9-0 in league games during the season, but outscored opponents 47-0 in those matches. The Lakers have won their past 14 matches to improve to 17-1 overall.
NMU (4-13) only made the conference tournament after pulling off a 2-1 home victory over Michigan Tech on Friday in the first GLIAC soccer game played in the Superior Dome.
Grand Valley 5, NMU 1
On Sunday, Grand Valley opened the scoring quickly as Riko Sagara scored in the sixth minute, then added another in the 37th by Chelsea Graves for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Greta Deloach added goals less than 10 minutes apart in the second half to make it 4-0 as Kennedy Bearden made it 5-0 in the 83rd minute.
Then less than 30 seconds later, Northern senior Jamie Montgomery found sophomore Rachael Erste with a pass as Erste knocked the ball past GVSU goalkeeper Jessica Radice.
In the NMU net, junior Brianna Frontuto made 10 saves as GVSU held a 25-8 shots advantage. Sophomore Caroline Halonen led Wildcats players with three shots.
NMU 2, Michigan Tech 1
On Friday, with their backs against the wall, the Wildcats came through as they had to win or watch their season end.
NMU senior Gaelin Hirabayashi scored the game-winner in the 60th minute. Standing in the middle of the box, she took a corner kick from Halonen and rose above the MTU defense to put the ball in the upper left corner of the net for her third goal of the season.
That made the score 2-0 as the Huskies pulled within one about 6 1/2 minutes later on a goal by Jesse Jacobusse.
The Wildcats and Huskies each finished with 2-7 marks in the league as NMU won the tiebreaker with this victory.
Northern got on the scoreboard before the game was eight minutes old when Montgomery was fouled inside the box and awarded a penalty kick. She converted it for her fifth goal of the season and second penalty kick goal this fall.
During the first half, Frontuto became the fifth Wildcat to make 100 saves in a season as she finished with six. NMU outshot Tech 14-12 with Montgomery getting off six shots, including three on goal.
Hirabayashi, Montgomery, Frontuto, Kaitlynn Benson, Ashleigh Hansen and Christine Bina were the seniors honored before the match.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.