MARQUETTE – Sometimes in football teams just have to keep grinding in a game before they are rewarded.
The Northern Michigan University men’s team did this throughout their game against Northwood on Sunday afternoon. Finally, Emanuele Ancione was able to break the Wildcats’ goalless impasse with 14:11 when NMU scored a 1-0 win in the Superior Dome for the fourth time in a row.
Goalkeeper Alex Weaver also made three saves to help Northern score his third straight shutout.
“This is a very good team that we played today and, as you can see, the game was 0-0 at halftime, (but) it wasn’t a 0-0 game.” Wildcats head coach David Poggi said. “It could have been 5-5. I think we came out happy in the end but we’re not taking anything away from these guys.
“You show up and you can see our record over the years. That was a small nice result, especially when you play in the dome and especially with everything that’s going on now.”
NMU definitely had previous scoring chances but failed to capitalize. Less than 24 minutes into the first half, North midfielder Kaffie Kurz’s shot sailed just over the bar, and about four minutes later teammate Brady Kronenburg tried to send a long pass to Ryan Palmbaum near the net, but Timberwolves- Goalkeeper Corbin Cecchini hit the ball just before it reached its intended goal and covered it.
At the other end of the field, Weaver saved seven minutes before the end of the game to keep the game goalless.
When asked how his team managed to get three direct failures, Weaver said it was all about teamwork and hard work.
“I think it depends that we play as a team.” he said. “All 11 of us stand behind the ball and work very hard and just make it. We grind out the zeros. “
The Wildcats had two more golden chances in the first half. A minute into Weaver’s save, Kronenburg collected the ball during a fight in front of the Northwood net, but his shot went just wide of the left post. A similar moment came just under four minutes before the end when Niko Scheibal of the Wildcats got the ball out of the fight, but his shot went straight off the crossbar and the match stayed at 0-0.
In the second half, the Wildcats got oddly lucky. 34 minutes before the end, Weaver and another Wildcat collided, leaving a wide open web. Northwood scored in the game, but the goal was waved off. NMU had a few shots on the net during this period, but none of them were of high quality.
Then Ancione had his moment. After a long cross, the striker snuck the ball past a diving Cecchini and scored the 1-0. Palmbaum and Shawn Clark collected assists for the goal.
Northern had two options to extend their lead, but Cecchini saved a jump on the first try and the Wildcats failed to take advantage of a wide open net by just over a minute.
Weaver, who came on as a transfer this season, said he noticed that the team’s culture was changing in a good way.
“I haven’t been here in the last couple of years, but I could tell from some of the guys who have been here in the past that things are changing.” Said Weaver. “Our attitude is changing. We know we are here to win, and we want to, and we will continue to do so. “
The NMU ended their regular season at home on Saturday against Wisconsin-Parkside.
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg @ Miningjournal. Network.
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