MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Women's Soccer recently saw their season come to a close after a 2018 campaign that saw the Wildcats make vast improvements on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field.
The Wildcats saw great statistical improvements during Head Coach Sonia Basma's second season at the helm. NMU netted 24 goals during the 2018 season, nearly double their 2017 total. Leading the way was freshman midfielder Caroline Halonen (Hartland, Michigan) who netted nine goals and added six assists for 24 points. All three totals were the most for a Wildcats since the 2014 season and helped her earn Second Team All-GLIAC honors
Two more student-athletes recorded multiple goals during the season including sophomore forward Jenna Halonen (Howell, Michigan) and freshman forward Taelor Moore (Warren, Michigan) Last year's offensive leader, Jenna Halonen missed more than a month of the season due to injury but still earned 12 points on five goals and a pair of assists. Moore found the back of the net on three occasions during her freshman campaign.
A core of three Wildcat defenders played in every match this season and helped improve the team's goals against average compared to last season. Senior defenders Aimee Colla (Muskego, Wisconsin) and Sophia Sachs (Green Bay, Wisconsin) along with junior defender Gaelin Hirabayashi (Ijamsville, Maryland) played and started in every contest over the course of the season. Adding one goal on the season, Hirabayashi was named Honorable Mention All-GLIAC at the conclusion of the season.
In goal for the Wildcats, senior goalkeeper Emma Vermette (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) had her best season in an NMU jersey. She finished the season with 68 saves, fourth-most in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Vermette finished her career with a goals against average of 2.10 which is 10th-best in the Wildcat record book.
Sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Fontuto (Luxemburg, Wisconsin) also saw plenty of action between the posts during 2018 with 11 appearances. She recorded a pair of clean sheets and a goals against average of 0.88, the fourth-best in a single season in program history.
With the many statistical strides over the course of the season, the Wildcats began the year with a victory over St. Cloud State University, their first since 2008. The win sent the team into their best start since 2011 when the Wildcats went 4-4-2 in their first 10 contests.
In prepping for the 2019 season, the Wildcats are again expected to return nearly all of their offensive production next season. The team is set to return 92% of their point production from this season and 96% of their goal scoring.