The Ferris State University women's soccer team came into this Tuesday's (Nov. 2) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Women's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal-Round match against the Northern Michigan Wildcats seeking to play another day, but despite a three-goal output the Bulldogs came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette, Mich.
The loss not only eliminates Ferris State from the conference's postseason tournament as the Bulldogs in all likelihood conclude their 2010 season at 7-9-3 overall. The setback overshadowed a commendable performance turned in by senior midfielder Kara Lovelace (East Kentwood), who accounted for two FSU goals and assisted on the third Bulldog score in the contest.
The match was scoreless for the opening 14 minutes before Amelia Johnson put Northern Michigan up 1-0 with a tally from the middle of the goal box at the 14:41 mark. However, Ferris State would answer less than nine minutes later when Kara Lovelace connected on the first of two goals in the match. Lovelace netted her fifth of the year unassisted at 23:27 when she put in a rebound on the left side of the NMU goal to knot the contest at 1-1 through the first 45 minutes of action. The host Wildcats claimed a 15-7 advantage in shots for the first half.
Both teams kicked into high gear offensively in the second half with Ferris State and Northern Michigan combining for five goals. The Wildcats wasted little time regaining the lead, scoring just 36 seconds into the half as Dana Stephens produced the first of her two markers in the encounter. Like Lovelace, Stephens connected off a rebound after an initial NMU shot was saved by freshman goalkeeper Rachel McCollum (Grand Blanc).
Ferris State, which outshot the Wildcats 14-10 in the second half, were undeterred as the Bulldogs drew into a deadlock again at 2-2 on another unassisted goal by Kara Lovelace. The FSU senior picked up a deflected loose ball in the goal box and buried the ball into the Northern Michigan goal for the equalizer. Unfortunately, the score didn't remain tied for long as the Wildcats came right back 32 seconds later when Dana Stephens garnered her 11th goal of the season from a kick on the right side. NMU would net what proved to be the decisive goal less than three minutes afterwards when Kari Buckel scored unassisted on a free kick at the 55:18 mark.
Both teams were unable to get on the scoreboard for about the next 26 minutes until Ferris State narrowed the Wildcats' margin to one goal at 4-3 as freshman defender-midfielder Hillary Braun (Rochester Hills/Rochester) took a pass from Kara Lovelace from the endline and scored her second of the season past NMU goalkeeper Dana Bush with 12:45 remaining in the conference tourney quarterfinal match. The Bulldogs tried as they might to net the equalizer as junior forward Bri Borgman (Holland/West Ottawa) attempted two shots while sophomore forward Cassie Aro (Gaines/Linden) had one. The last opportunity for Ferris State came with 7:48 remaining, but freshman forward Emily Kraska's (Bay City/John Glenn) shot was blocked by a Wildcat player.
Goalkeeper Rachel McCollum (7-9-3) took the loss and made 10 saves for Ferris State while Dana Bush (2-0-0) earned the victory by stopping 10 FSU shots on net.
Northern Michigan compiled a 25-21 lead in shots for the match while Ferris State held the upper hand in corner kicks at 7-3.
Ferris State's appearance in this year's GLIAC Tournament represented the program's third ever as the Bulldogs made back-to-back appearances in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.