HOUGHTON - The offensive clinic the Michigan Tech soccer team put on in a 5-0 thrashing of Northern Michigan in Marquette last Saturday was a long time coming, head coach Michelle Jacob believes.
While it was the greatest margin of victory in Tech's history and only the second time the program had ever scored five goals in one match, Jacob said she thought her team had been creating chances at the same rate for the entire four-game winning streak - they just didn't capitalize on all of them.
So when the Huskies put their possession, short passing game and midfield-to-forward linkups all together with superlative finishing, it came as no surprise to Jacob to see such a lopsided score against their Northern rivals.
Michigan Tech’s Katie Boardman tries to keep the ball away from Northern Michigan’s Haley Boroughf during their Sept. 10 match at Sherman Field in Houghton. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"We sure are proud of what we did there," Jacob said. "But I can't be really surprised by it, because I think we just kept doing what we have been doing all season.
"In our (four) games prior to this one (in which the Huskies scored two goals each contest) we missed some opportunities to score and it has been a focus of ours in practice. We have emphasized how important finishing is in every drill and the girls really dedicated themselves to it."
Tech jumped on Northern in the very first minute of the game, earning a free kick roughly 25 yards away. While Wildcat keeper Shelby Conrad saved the initial attempt, MacKenzie Jordan was there to pounce on the rebound.
The quick burst was a result of a confident, energized attack.
After posting losing seasons in the first two years since the program's creation in 2010, Jacob said her team is fully confident they can play with - and beat - anyone in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. She isn't sure that was the case for the two previous years.
"Beating Northern (the first time in a non-conference matchup) has really shown these girls what they are capable of, I think," Jacob said. "We can beat schools now that we might not have been able to in the past.
"We are playing well in all aspects of the game I think. We are possessing the ball, linking up well and getting shots at the right time."
Tech will need every bit of its offensive swagger to keep up with conference opponent Findlay (2-3-1, 2-0-1 GLIAC) Friday.
The Oilers just posted a nine-goal, two-game weekend and senior Emily Beddoes was named the GLIAC Player of the Week with three goals and an assist in wins over Ashland and Ohio Dominican.
Jacob plans to stay with the usual 4-3-3 shape and typical starting 11, and other than a heightened awareness of Beddoes, does not plan on shaping the defense around the senior striker or man-marking her.
"You know, I think we have to pay attention to everything," Jacob said. "All the teams are so strong in this league. The minute you focus on one player too much, then someone else opens up and creates something. We just need to play consistent and possess the ball. Play our game."
Tiffin comes to Sherman Field on Sunday. Tech lost to both teams last season, but defeated the Ohio pair in their inaugural season in 2010.
"If we keep playing how we have been, I'm confident we can beat any team in this league," Jacob said. "We need to focus on what we do best."