Ferris soccer celebrated their seniors in fashion with back-to-back wins over their weekend opponents.
The Bulldogs stayed hot over the weekend with a close overtime win on Friday, Oct. 15 against Northern Michigan. Then they held senior day on Sunday, Oct. 17, and dominated Wisconsin-Parkside 5-0.
The weekend sweep over Northern Michigan and Wisconsin-Parkside bumped the Bulldog’s record to 10-1-2 on the season. They are 9-0-2 after their opening day loss against Findlay.
The Bulldogs got their first taste of fall in their game against Northern Michigan on Friday, Oct. 15, persevering through the rain and the cold for over 100 minutes. Northern Michigan struck first and put Ferris in a very unfamiliar position. For just the second time this year, the Bulldogs trailed.
Head coach Greg Henson commented on how the team was able to rally back.
“The resiliency is there,” Henson said. “This team continues to fight and work hard on all facets of the game, regardless of the score line.”
The team would not be shut out in the first half. With less than two minutes to halftime, junior defender Nikki May lined up for a free-kick just outside of the box and notched the Bulldog’s first goal.
Both teams came out fighting in the second half, but the score remained 1-1 until Northern Michigan broke the drought. Midfielder Brooker Pietila gave the Wildcats the lead at 64:39, but the lead was short lived.
May got on the scorecard again, sending a high cross into the box for senior forward Grace VerHage to head into the bottom left corner. At 2-2, both teams stayed chippy for the remainder of regulation.
At the 104th minute, through the cold rain and physical play, VerHage broke through her Wildcat defender. With just the keeper to beat, she dumped the ball off to freshman forward Lindsay Cole, who buried the game winner for her first of the season.
“It was a great feeling,” Cole said. “This was my first overtime goal. Especially when all the girls stormed the field and started hugging me afterward.”
Ferris led the game in almost all categories, beating the Wildcats in both total shots, 23-20, and shots on goal, 10-8. It was one of the few games this season where the Bulldogs trailed in total fouls, with 11 compared to Northern’s 17.
Two days later Ferris took the field again for senior day, taking on Parkside. Ferris Athletics honored the Bulldogs and their parents with a special ceremony before kickoff, listing their many accomplishments during their collegiate careers.
The team held consistent pressure from the start of the game, rarely seeing the ball in their own half. VerHage did not wait long to open the scoring for the Bulldogs, burying a pass from junior forward Isabella Zamborini at 10:52.
Just nine minutes later, senior forward Pia Nagel slotted her shot past the keeper to lengthen the Bulldog’s lead to 2. The goal marked Nagel’s eighth of the season.
Ferris got one more goal before the half was over. Sophomore midfielder Jessie Bandyk’s shot found the back of the net after it was deflected off a Parkside defender.
After the break, Zamborini set up a ball for Verhage, who put it away at 58:24. With the two goals against Parkside, VerHage leads the team in scoring with nine goals so far this season.
“I’m just playing with a lot of heart, and I’m playing with some amazing teammates, so it makes it easy,” VerHage said.
In the waning minutes of regulation, sophomore defender Sarah Katinas ripped a shot from distance for her first collegiate goal.
The Bulldog’s dominated in the shot column, out-shooting the Rangers 37-5, including 20-5 in shots on goal.
Ferris will face Purdue-Northwest at home Friday, Oct. 22.