Aug. 29, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northern Illinois Head Men's Soccer Coach Steve Simmons wanted his team to start the season on the right foot.
Sophomore forward Juan Hoyos (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) obliged the sixth-year coach with a goal just 34 seconds into the 2008 season, helping the Huskies defeat IUPUI 3-0 in the opening match of the Northwestern Lakeside Classic.
Leading up to the goal, the Huskie forwards pressured the IUPUI defense on a throw-in, causing a misplayed pass to Jaguar goalkeeper David Barszczowski. Hoyos pressured the keeper into losing possession and finished the play to give the Huskies their first goal of the year.
"This was a tremendous effort by the entire team," Simmons said. "We wanted to set the tempo and we wanted to dictate the pace. We did that right from the get go, which was evident from the goal in the first minute."
Hoyos added a second goal with a bicycle kick in the 20th minute, assisted by fellow sophomore Engebreth Faerden (Olso, Norway/Academy for Elite Athletes). It was the first time a Huskie scored two goals in a match since Oct. 24, 2007, when Marcus McCarty put in a pair of scores to help NIU upset then-No. 9 Northwestern.
"The ball was loose in the area, and Juan was able to capitalize with a tremendous finish," Simmons said.
Northern Illinois came out in the second half with the same intensity as the first. Senior Brian Abdallah (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) used a through ball to find freshman Jason Guehler (The Colony, Texas/The Colony), who scored to put NIU up 3-0 just 27 seconds into the second period.
"The half is time for the opponent to regroup, making it a dangerous time for us," Simmons said. "A statement needed to be made, and I'm so proud our guys made that statement and really put the stamp on it."
Simmons was impressed the opening of both the match and the season.
"This was the start we were working for, and the guys certainly delivered," Simmons said. "They never let up, as indicated by the shots on goal per half."
The Huskies had the lion's share of chances, taking 16 shots to IUPUI's six. Hoyos accounted for five of those, while Faerden, Abdallah and freshman Brad Horton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) each contributed two.
Senior goalkeeper Joe Zimka (Algonquin, Ill./Jacobs) played all 90 minutes, making three saves and recording his 15th career shutout. Zimka also directed a defense made up of Josh Karsten (Barrington Hills, Ill./Barrington), Kyle Knotek (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), Danny Lopez (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) and freshman Tim King (Arlington Heights, Ill./Conant) that impressed Simmons.
"Those four really gave us a chance to dictate what we wanted to do," Simmons said of his backline. "And Drew Jeseky did well at defensive-midfielder where he was able to steer the five guys in front of him."
Simmons utilized a large portion of his bench, inserting ten substitutes. Included in that group were Alex Evert (Marietta, Ga./Harrison), Johnny Tyma (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) and Matt Zirretta (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy), who all saw their first action in the Cardinal and Black.
"We went to our bench and the level of play didn't drop off," Simmons said. "It's nice to not only have fresh legs, but guys that are certainly able. Everybody was hungry. It was a total team effort, which gives us something positive to focus on going into a very tough match with San Francisco."
The Huskies can give Simmons his 50th career victory when they take on the Dons, Sunday at noon in their second game of the Northwestern Lakeside Classic.