MARQUETTE - Once again, an Upper Peninsula women's NCAA Division II soccer team finds itself second to Grand Valley State in the GLIAC standings.
Like usual, one U.P. team holds a 1-0 record on the season over its regional rival.
The difference this year is that team is not Northern Michigan University.
Northern Michigan University senior Brekelle Sellers goes for a header against Michigan Tech in Houghton on Sept. 10. The Huskies picked up their first-ever victory over the ’Cats, 2-0, in the nonconference match. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by David Archambeau)
Now in its third season of existence, Michigan Tech has a leg up on the veteran Wildcat program.
"It's just another game, honestly," NMU soccer coach Matt Granstrand said. "We respect Tech as much as any other team. We're just trying to win games.
"Tech means no more or no less than any other team we're playing, at least to me personally. We're just trying to play well and get a win."
The Huskies picked up their first-ever victory over the 'Cats, 2-0, in a nonconference battle in Houghton on Sept. 10 and now Tech will try for the sweep at 11 a.m. Saturday at the NMU Soccer Field in the shadow of the Superior Dome.
Junior Lindsey Van Rooy and sophomore Amanda Whiting scored the Tech goals with assists from sophomore Janelle Riedl and freshman Lexi Herrewig.
The Huskies, who still trail the all-time series 4-1, posted nine shots on goal and took 21 total attempts while the Wildcats were limited to seven attempts, five of which were on target.
Granstrand said he expects much of the same in the rematch Saturday that will count in the conference standings.
"They are probably going to have more shots than us," Granstrand said. "They shoot a lot more from distance and when they go in that's wonderful. It's a little different philosophies in shooting styles."
Tech, GVSU and Northwood sit atop the GLIAC standings with six points following a 2-0 opening weekend in conference play, though the Lakers get the nod for first with their undefeated 6-0-1 overall record. MTU sits at 4-2 while Northwood is 2-3.
NMU went 1-1 in its first two GLIAC games for three points in the league standings, falling at Notre Dame College, 2-0, and winning at Lake Erie College, 2-1.
MTU swept both LEC and NDC over the weekend, 2-1 and 2-0, respectively.
"They are a good team," Granstrand said about Tech. "They have shown it with their record and beating us up at their place. We're just going to come out and try to compete for 90 minutes."
At 2-4 overall, NMU has been shutout in all four of its losses while freshman Hailey Beyrand, sophomore Tevun Sellers, freshman Tiffany Trembley and freshman Gabriella Garza have scored the team's four goals in its two victories.
Senior Brekelle Seller has the Wildcats' lone assist while the team's third leading scorer from 2011, senior Amelia Johnson, has been kept off the scoresheet, despite a team highs of eight shots on goal and 16 attempts.
"We're low on players. We have lots of injuries so we're moving players around a lot," Granstrand said. "We tend to move some players who are more offensive back to defend and when we want some more goals, we push them up and take some more chances in the back. We're running real low on defenders with injuries.
"We've had opportunities. The last three or four games, we've hit the post twice each game. We just need luck to break our way at some point."
Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.