Injuries, scoring issues mount for Huskies in 3-1 loss to Duluth

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan Tech’s Jessica Jacobusse battles with Minnesota Duluth’s Maddie Milbrath Sunday at Sherman Field.

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies soccer team lost a lot of offense from last year’s team that went 12-4-3. Just four games into the 2017 season, the Huskies find themselves with a record of 1-3 after a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota-Duluth Sunday at Sherman Field.

To make matters worse for the Huskies, three players left the field after suffering injuries, adding to their now-growing list of issues just four games in.

Head coach Michelle Jacob is disappointed that her team’s injury situation is quickly becoming a larger story than the match her team just played. At the same time, she is pleased of the effort her players are giving despite the dwindling numbers.

“I am really proud of our team,” said Jacob. “They showed a lot of character out there [Sunday]. Even with the amount of injuries we sustained, they never stopped fighting. They kept working hard and just playing for each other.”

The most visible injury over the course of the game occurred with just over 16 minutes left in regulation when freshman goalkeeper Amanda Young was preparing to dive for a cross and she banged heads with the Bulldogs’ Destiny Schmitz in a collision that knocked both players out of the contest. Young did manage to come up with the ball.

“I told her, ‘It takes a whole lot of courage hold onto the ball after a run-in like that,'” said Jacob. “I think that tells you the kind of person [she is] and the kind of athleticism she has.”

The biggest issue plaguing the Huskies prior to the start of the season was where goals were going to come from. With just one goal through the first three games, the Huskies have done little to alleviate that situation.

The lack of scoring continued to be a problem Sunday as the Huskies started strong, bringing a new wrinkle to their offense not seen on Friday night in a 1-0 loss to Bemidji State, but about 10 minutes into the contest, the Bulldogs started to take control of the game through the middle of the field, something Jacob and her staff were well-aware Minnesota-Duluth excelled at. Still, Jacob felt that the team’s midfielders played strong.

“I thought our midfield, everybody we put in there, had a really solid game for us,” said Jacob. “They stepped up from Friday. They have a very strong midfield and we knew they were going to come at us.”

At the 23:06 mark, that pressure the Bulldogs (2-0 overall) had been applying led to their first goal of the day when Mikayla Iaquinto fired a shot from the top of the box that hit Huskies goalkeeper Kirsen Hudak in the hands. The ball ricocheted off of Hudak’s hands, off the crossbar, and right out front where Logan Nash could head it past Hudak.

The Huskies settled down after the goal and managed to get some good looks offensively, but had to settle for a 1-0 deficit heading into the second half.

Just 3:29 in, the Bulldogs’ Skye Finley struck when she deflected a corner kick from Nash past Young, who started the second half in place of Hudak.

The Huskies responded about 14 minutes later when Brooke Schauer pounced on a mistake during a clearing play by Bulldogs keeper Sisley Ng. Schauer, while backpedaling, kicked the ball high over the Bulldogs defenders and the ball dropped behind Ng and in the back of the net at 62:25.

The goal energized the Huskies, who worked hard, getting five of their seven shots in the contest in that latter half. Unfortunately, they could not find the equalizer.

Natalie St. Martin sealed the victory for the Bulldogs with a goal with just 3:41 left in the contest when she beat Hudak, who had come back into the lineup for Young, with a kick from the left side after finding some space.

The Huskies will return to action on Friday when they host Northwood.