Wildcats Fight to a Draw with Ashland

Wildcats Fight to a Draw with Ashland

ASHLAND, Ohio—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (4-9-2, 2-7-1 GLIAC) finished in a 3-3 draw with Ashland University (7-7-1, 2-7-1 GLIAC) Friday afternoon in a game filled with offense and lead changes.

Despite being on the attack most of the opening half, the Wildcats allowed Ashland to take the early lead in the 24th-minute of play on a shot just past the diving arms of sophomore goalkeeper Filippo Torelli (Parma, Italy).

With a strong offensive attack in the first half, it was a matter of time before the Wildcats found a goal of their own. Sophomore midfielder Callum Olpin found the back of the net for the first time in 2017 in the 27th-minute to even the score at one goal each. Freshman forward Birkir Baldursson (Kopavogur, Iceland) was credited with the assist for his team-leading, fourth of the season.

NMU finished the first half outshooting the Eagles, 9-4, with five shots on-goal. Four of those shots came in the final 15 minutes of the half with the Wildcats continuing to push the tempo.

Four goals were scored in a span of less than 15 minutes during the second half with the teams alternating scores. At the 61-minute mark, junior defender Kevin Hoof (Grove, Minnesota) gave the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage on a throw in. Hoof was able to get a head on the ball, putting it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season. Freshman defender Isaac Wigermo (Gothenburg, Sweden) and sophomore midfielder Nick Metcalfe (Royal Oaks, Michigan) were credited with assists for their first and second of the year. 

Just over three minutes later, the Eagles were able to tie the game at two goals each, but NMU wasted little time regaining the advantage. Junior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) recorded his team-leading fourth goal of the season to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead at the 65-minute mark. Popp gathered the ball with his chest before sending it into the goal with the first touch. Metcalfe recorded his second assist of the game and his third of the season.

Holding the lead for nearly 10 minutes, Ashland scored their third goal of the game in the 75th-minute to again tie the contest for what would be the final score. NMU outshot the Eagles in the overtime periods, 5-3, but either team could manage a score, leading to the 3-3 draw. 

Torelli finished the contest with seven saves to bring his season total to 44. That number is currently good enough for fourth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while his goals allowed and goals-against-average are both fifth-best in the conference.

The Wildcats look to continue their current two-math unbeaten streak in the GLIAC finale on Sunday against Tiffin University at noon.