Bears come out victorious in thrilling overtime battle
GREELEY, Colo. – The Northern Colorado women's soccer team made the most of its first home match in almost a month, as the Bears defeated the Aggies of New Mexico State 1-0 in a thrilling overtime battle.
The more than 360 fans at Jackson Stadium were treated to a hard-fought defensive showdown, with both teams needing extra time to break a 0-0 deadlock. With the win, the Bears improved their mark to 6-3-1, while the Aggies fell to 5-2-2.
"Tonight we played maybe our best soccer of the season," said Northern Colorado head coach Tim Barrera. "We played very well defensively, especially our back. I thought we did a really good job of controlling the game."
Indeed, the Bears seemed in control for almost the entire match. As a team, the Bears limited the Aggies to just three shots on goal, but none of the shots seemed to really challenge goalkeeper Kirstin Salminen, who posted her third shutout of the year. In contrast, the Bears managed 20 shots total, with six coming on target.
The first half was a defensive battle, with perhaps the best opportunity to score for the Bears came when Kimmie Feidler struck a ball that ricocheted off the cross bar and back down onto the pitch. In the half, Northern Colorado outshot New Mexico State 12-1.
In the second half, the play was back and forth, but the Bears came up with a scoring opportunity in the final minutes of regulation when Danielle Birdsall missed a goal by just inches on a slow-rolling shot.
Less than five minutes into overtime, however, Olivia Deadmond crossed a corner kick into the box and onto the head of J.J. Wykstra. Wykstra, a sophomore, headed the ball past Aggie goalkeeper Mikaela Bitner and into the upper right-hand corner of the net. The goal was Wykstra's first of the season and the game winner.
"Games like tonight definitely give you some confidence going into conference season," Barrera said.
The Bears will finish up their weekend homestand as well as their nonconference schedule with a Sunday, Sept. 26, match against Boise State. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.