Aug. 13, 2011
DEKALB, Ill. -- After waiting out an hour long weather delay, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team had a successful start to the exhibition portion of its schedule, defeating Olivet Nazarene, 1-0, on Saturday at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex. Junior Mike Mascitti scored the lone goal of the game in the first half to lift NIU to the victory.
"We had a lot of the ball, which was good, and that isn't always something that we are used to," said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. "But we only had two or three shots on goal, we only scored one goal and it was off of a set piece. It was good that the guys felt comfortable in possession, I felt like we gave the ball away a little too easily, but we are in the third day of preseason, so that is to be expected."
Mascitti broke the scoreless deadlock at the 25:32 mark of the contest, latching onto a second ball from a corner kick and floating a shot over the Olivet Nazarene goalkeeper.
"Rocco (Taglia) had a great service, and it was good because last year we had many issues on both sides, attacking and defening side, with second and third balls," said Luzzi. "The fact that we didn't win the first one but Mike was there and alert on the second one. It was a great finish and well deserved."
Mascitti had a chance to double the NIU advantage later in the first half as his low shot, again on a second ball from a corner, was blocked away by the Olivet Nazarene goalkeeper.
"Our set piece set up wasn't sharp, the guys missed a lot of details, but the quality of service I was very pleased with," said Luzzi. "I thought we put the ball in dangerous areas and that will bode well for the rest of the season."
In the final minute of the first half, the Huskies nearly scored a second from sophomore Houston Hoffman. Freshman Matt Fraedrich laid off a ball into the run of Hoffman who fired just wide left of the goal.
Northern Illinois had a handful of chances in the second 45 minutes. Midway through the second half freshman Isaac Kannah hit a shot that was palmed away by the Olivet Nazarene goalkeeper. Sophomore Karim Darbaki also had an excellent opportunity as he whistled a shot off the crossbar with just over 14 minutes to play in the contest.
Goalkeepers Miles Herbert and Hugo Gonzalez combined on the shutout in goal for the Huskies. Herbert played the first 45 minutes before giving way to Gonzalez for the second 45.
"It was good to get some of the freshmen their first minutes," said Luzzi. "I thought some of them showed very well. Even though we are only three days in it was good to play someone else and see where we are at."
NIU will continue its exhibition schedule on Tuesday, Aug. 16, as the Huskies host Indianapolis. The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.