HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech soccer team struck for three first half goals and held off Northern Michigan in the second half to prevail 3-1 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match on Senior Night Friday at Sherman Field. It was the Huskies fifth straight win and second over the Wildcats this season. Tech shutout Northern Michigan 1-0 in Marquette back on September 30th.
"Northern Michigan played hard, especially in the second half, but fortunately we were sitting in a pretty good spot with the early goals," Michigan Tech Head Coach Michelle Jacob said. "I was really proud of how our team came out on fire today. We were able to control the game, but knew that Northern wasn't going to give up and they gave us a heck of a challenge in the second half. I'm very proud of the effort of the team to keep battling. We played well and earned the win."
Michigan Tech (10-5-1, 5-4-0) surged out of the gate Friday night against Northern Michigan (4-11-2, 1-8-0 GLIAC), unloading a barrage of shots starting in the 10th minute. Sophomore Brooke Schauer had the first attempt of the night, which had to be turned away by goalie Emma Vermette. Sophomore Jesse Jacobusse and freshman Alexis Shatrau each had shots on goal as well leading up to Tech's first successful strike of the contest.
In the 20th minute, the Huskies pressed the attack from the left corner and broke down the Wildcats defense. Freshman Gabby Sgambati played the ball into the box where freshman Grace Shaw was waiting in front of the net. Shaw's header shot flew past the keeper and in for her ninth goal of the season. The assist for Sgambati was her second of the 2018 campaign, making it a 1-0 contest.
Just over 11 minutes later, the Huskies were back on the board again thanks to a blast by senior Marisa DeMario. Shaw lent a helping hand this time with a precision pass down the middle of the field past the Wildcat defenders and onto the foot of DeMario. DeMario delivered the kick inside the right post to make it a 2-0 lead in favor of the Huskies in the 31st minute. It was DeMario's second goal of the season and the seventh assist at the time for Shaw.
It didn't take long for Tech to collect the third goal of the night in the 33rd minute. Shaw collected the ball near the midfield and after a couple of dribbles chipped the ball over the defense to sophomore Leah Goldman. Vermette had come out to contest the shot near the top of the box and with a quick tap redirected the kick into the back of the net for her second goal of the year. Shaw picked up her second assist of the match and eighth on the season.
The Huskies maintained the 3-0 advantage through the remainder of the first half and into the early moments of the second half. The Wildcats were able to break through for what would be their only goal of the night in the 60th minute. Jenna Halonen picked up the goal with Anna Worman assisting on the play, drawing NMU to within one at 3-1. However, Tech's defense locked down the Wildcats the rest of the way to preserve the victory in the regular season finale.
Shaw helped power the Michigan Tech offense Friday night with a team high five shots, one goal, and two assists. DeMario had four shots and one goal followed by Goldman with a pair of strikes and a goal in the stat sheet. Sgambati closed the evening with three shots and picked up the Huskies' other assist in the win.
The Huskies had a commanding advantage in overall shots at 28-4 and held the edge in corner kicks as well at 3-0. Sophomore goalie Amanda Young played 59 minutes in net and made two saves while freshman Erika Gabriel played 31 minutes to close the match. Young earned the win and moved to 10-5-1 overall.
Caroline Halonen had a team high two shots for Northern Michigan followed by Jenna Halonen with one shot and the lone Wildcat goal. Worman did not attempt a shot, but had the assist on the play. Vermette played the first half in front of the net and permitted all three Tech goals while making 10 saves. Brianna Frontuto covered the second half and tacked on six more saves.
The victory by the Huskies along with a tie by Ashland and a win by Grand Valley State over Davenport clinched a home match Tuesday in the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals against the Eagles. Tech and Ashland were tied in the final standings with 15 points, but by virtue of Tech's win at Ashland this past Sunday, the Huskies owned the tiebreaker.
The Huskies are the No. 4 seed in the tournament while Ashland enters the postseason as the No. 5 seed. Tuesday's kickoff at Sherman Field is scheduled for 4 p.m.