Singin’ in the rain

MARQUETTE – An ice-cold wind and a constant downpour pounded the Northern Michigan Wildcats during their game against Tiffin late Friday afternoon.

However, unlike the weather, the Wildcats were hot from the opening kick as they dominated the Dragons 7-0 at the NMU Soccer Field.

NMU broke the scoreless tie just 14 seconds into the game when Paula Hafner scored off of her own rebound and the ‘Cats rolled from there.

“Paula’s goal really set the tone,” Wildcats head coach Matt Granstrand said. “It gave (us) some momentum and we took advantage of that for the rest of the game. This was a good win for us.”

After Hafner’s goal, senior Kim Rietveld stole the ball inside the Tiffin box and fired the ball into the net to put NMU up 2-0.

Just a blink of an eye later, Hafner scored her second goal of the day and 10th of the season, this time to the far post and the Wildcats had a three-goal led just eight minutes in.

Taylor Smith completed the first-half performance with her first goal this season and the Wildcats led 4-0 at the break.

“Our first half was great,” Rietveld said. “When we scored that first goal, we got really excited and after we got the third one, we got confident and we carried that into the second half.”

The rest of the game was more of the same. Carmen Villarruel scored her sixth goal of the year at the 68:13 mark and Hailey Beyrand picked up her second goal on a header just three minutes later. Madison Hamilla finished the NMU scoring with an unassisted goal with under 10 minutes left.

NMU held a lopsided 32-7 shots advantage, including 24-5 with shots on goal. Caroline Glantz played most of the minutes in goal to get the shutout, stopping four shots. Alexandra Simmons had ones save in about eight minutes of playing time.

After a frustrating couple of weeks during which the Wildcats lost three games in overtime, NMU has now picked up three straight shutout victories and things seem to be going their way again.

“Things are more positive now,” Granstrand said. “The breaks are starting to even out more and we are starting to play really well.”

The Wildcats host another GLIAC foe, Findlay, at noon Sunday.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 246. His email address is