The Valparaiso women’s soccer team opened the 2012 exhibition campaign on Wednesday evening under the lights at Brown Field, falling 1-0 to Northern Illinois.
NIU scored the game’s lone goal in the 52nd minute. Lauren Solomon took an initial shot from the left side from about 25 yards out, an attempt which was saved by freshman goalkeeper Sarah Silvasi (Dexter, Mich./Dexter). But the rebound came out to Frances Boukidis, who found the back of the net inside the right post from ten yards away to give the Huskies the lead.
Valpo had a couple opportunities in the latter stages of the final 45 for the equalizer, none better than an attempt in the 73rd minute. Senior Catherine Terrell (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) crossed in a gorgeous ball from the left side into the box, where redshirt freshman Rachel Sheehan (Thornton, Colo./Horizon) gathered it for a point-blank opportunity. But NIU netminder Amy Carr came up with the save to keep the Huskies on top.
20 players in all took to the pitch for the Crusaders on Wednesday night, including six freshmen. Junior Kristen Manski (Saint Charles, Ill./North) started in goal and played the first half, making one save. Silvasi came in to goal at halftime and stopped a pair of shots in the final 45 minutes. Deanna Libricz split time with Carr in goal for NIU. The Huskies held a slight 10-7 edge in shot attempts, including 4-3 on frame, and attempted six corners to Valpo’s four.
Valparaiso plays its second and final exhibition contest on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Rochester, Mich. to face Oakland. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CDT.