HOUGHTON – If one is an accident, two a trend and three a problem, then what is there to make of the Michigan Tech soccer team scoring just one goal in four consecutive games?
An unusually grim head coach in Michelle Jacob, apparently.
The Huskies drew 1-1 Saturday with rival Northern Michigan at Sherman Field, capping a two-week stretch in which Tech has not managed to score multiple times in any contest.
This comes a season after the Huskies averaged two goals a game and just laid a 5-0 beating on the Wildcats in non-conference action 16 days ago.
“We didn’t have a good game today,” Jacob said. “We missed opportunities. And I think Northern came out ready to play and we came ready to play the Northern team we saw last time. Obviously that didn’t work.”
It is often said that goal scoring in soccer is a gene, not something that can be coached.
Practice any scenario you like, but opportunities come few and far between in a 90-minute match, and when one falls to the feet, some players simply possess the killer instinct to finish in front of the net, and others play the midfield for a reason.
That maxim may be a little too close to the mark for Jacob’s taste after her team wasted several golden chances to steal a win from Northern.
Freshman Madeline Faust took too long to get a shot off late in the second half with just the keeper to beat and fellow freshman Jacqueline Mielke shanked a sitting left-footed volley earlier that would have given Tech a lead despite some uneven play.
“When you get in that situation where it is one on one with you and the keeper it can be stressful and it can be intimidating and sometimes you just don’t get a good piece of the ball,” Jacob said.
The Huskies did take a brief lead when sophomore Lexi Herrewig showed off some deft feet to split the Northern defense and calm finishing to slot home at the far post in the 68th minute, but it didn’t last long as Wildcat striker Paula Hafner poached one seven minutes later with a fizzing shot from a tight angle that Huskies keeper MaryBeth Spoehr didn’t parry in time.
Hafner proved a thorn all game long, narrowly missing several other times thanks to some solid last-second tackling from center back Kaitlyn Boelter.
“(Hafner) had a good game. She put a lot of pressure on us, but I thought Kaitlyn did a nice job handling her,” Jacob said. “She does a great job to save us back there in those situations.”
Tech falls to 1-0-1 in the GLIAC now after sharing the title last season with Grand Valley State while sporting an 11-1-1 record.
“I think we came out a little slow and it took too long for us to piece together our game,” Jacob said. “Give them a lot of credit, (Northern) hustled hard. We did some good things at times, we just didn’t do them consistently enough.”