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By JESSICA MONTGOMERY | Staff writer
Within the first four minutes of the game, Huskies’ sophomore midfielder Taylor Gibson and defensive forward Arielle Rodriguez attacked the goal. Rodriguez’s corner kick to Gibson placed the University in the lead through the whole first half.
“It was just a really good ball in, and I was able to get on the end of it,” Gibson said.
The University’s women’s soccer team outshot NJIT 4-1 during the first half of the game. Despite their victory, the Huskies acknowledged they had issues playing on the small turf field because they are accustomed to grass.
The cold weather and terrain conditions made it difficult for the team to make accurate passes, but as the game progressed they were able to connect the passes better. The Huskies were good at using their players, allowing them to win.
“Our defense was phenomenal.” Gibson said. “I think that’s why we were so successful because of our backline. It was the best they had ever played.”
The Huskies outshot the Highlanders 4-1 in the first half and only had four fouls compared to the Highlanders’ six.
Once the second half began, the lady Huskies ventured out on their second attack.
In a wave of excitement and roaring fans, and in just seven minutes, freshman Blake Martin made the second goal with an assist by Gibson for her very first collegiate goal.
Hoping for their next score, sophomore forward Natalie Hager and sophomore midfielder Emily Hughes each charged NJIT’s goalie.
The Highlanders made an attempt at redemption, but junior goalkeeper Shelby Horn turned in a brilliant defensive performance, stopping a corner kick and two shots in the final 20 minutes.
Women’s soccer head coach Misty Jones said that defensively the Huskies worked hard throughout the game and offensively they could have been more aggressive.
“Our defense played well, and was well organized, but offensively I did not feel that we performed the way I would have liked us to.”
In the second half the University outshot the Highlanders 5-4.
The Huskies used clever tactics to keep the other team from scoring. Once they were in the lead, the Huskies simply had to keep hold of the ball.
“Everyone is working hard to keep the ball out of the net,” Horn said. “Our defense did a lot of work this weekend to keep it from even coming to me. For shutouts, it is really a team effort.”
Horn has the opportunity to set the record for most game shutouts. During the Great West conference she was also awarded College Sports Madness Conference Player of the Week.
“She is on track to breaking the shutout record at HBU,” Jones said. “She is smart in the goal. She is a good leader, and she has done a phenomenal job for us.”