Ferris could not top No. 3 seeded Northern Michigan in the GLIAC Tournament, but the Bulldogs still improved on the previous year’s performance.
The Bulldogs’ appearance in the GLIAC tournament marks the program’s third in its 11 year history. Ferris finished this season 7-9-3 overall. In comparison to the Bulldogs 2009-10 performance of 3-13-2 overall, the ladies have improved this year thanks to new Ferris State coach Matt Kellogg.
“From when I first trained these players to now, I am very, very pleased with how we grew and also with where we’re heading into next year,” said Kellogg.
The Bulldogs faced off against the Wildcats in the opening round of the tournament, ultimately losing 4-3. Senior midfielder Kara Lovelace helped keep the Bulldogs in the game by scoring two goals and recording an assist on the third goal for Ferris State.
The hosting Wildcats were too much for Ferris to handle and four of Northern Michigan’s 25 shots got past freshman Bulldog goalkeeper Rachel McCollum. Ferris was outshot 25-21 in the match but held a 14-10 lead in shots on goal in the second half. Ferris attempted to tie the match late in the second half, though ultimately could not manage to get a shot past the Wildcats’ defense.
“Early on in the second half we kind of dug ourselves into a bit of a hole but I was really impressed with the way that we fought back,” said Kellogg. “We just came up a little bit short.”
Northern Michigan started the second half off with a goal only 36 seconds into the half, but the Bulldogs retaliated and brought the teams to a deadlock once more off another goal by Lovelace. The marker was her second of the game and sixth of the season. Ferris held the tie for only 32 seconds as Northern’s offense forced another goal past McCollum, making the score 3-2. Northern then netted the deciding goal for the Wildcats three minutes later. Lovelace’s assist came just beyond the midway point in the second half off of a goal scored by freshman defensive midfielder Hillary Braun that would put the match at 4-3.
“A lot of the players’ expectations for the tournament weren’t to just make it in the tournament,” said Kellogg. “We were looking to advance in the tournament and those are our expectations going forward.”
The Bulldogs will look to return to the GLIAC tournament next year with more experience and individual training, said Kellogg. He said the team has the talent and the ability to be a top three team next year; however, he believes it needs to put in more work to get there. n