Sept. 2, 2011
ROCHESTER, Mich. -- Senior defender Pat Sloan scored with five minutes remaining to give the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory at Oakland on Friday night. Freshman forward Paul Hogan also scored for the Huskies as they improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Huskies opened the scoring in the ninth minute as Hogan scored for the second time in as many games. Hogan’s goal came from an assist by sophomore midfielder Gael Rivera.
“Paul (Hogan) is an interesting case,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. “He is a very intelligent player and he has a knack for popping up in the right spaces and making good runs. But I certainly couldn’t imagine that he would have two goals in two games and he probably couldn’t have imagined it either.”
Oakland responded seven minutes later on a header by Josh Bennett. The initial header on the play by Jake Przybycien was saved by junior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey but Bennett followed up on the play to even the score.
At the end of the first 45 minutes, Oakland held a 9-6 advantage in shots. Godsey made three saves for NIU in the opening half while Mitch Hildebrandt had a pair of stops for the Golden Grizzlies.
“To Oakland’s credit, they are a very difficult team to play against,” Luzzi said. “But we were disappointed in our play in the first half and we were lucky not to be behind at the half. We were a bit better in the second half and there is something to be said for finding a way to win.”
The Huskies turned up the pressure in the second stanza, outshooting Oakland 7-2 after the intermission.
Despite the heavy edge in shots, NIU was unable to get a second half breakthrough until the 85th minute when Sloan put the Huskies back on top. Sophomore midfielder Karim Darbaki’s initial shot off a free kick was blocked and Sloan was first to the rebound, finishing past the Oakland goalkeeper to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.
“Pat (Sloan) played about 20 minutes in the first half and he was the one player, in the first half, that played to the level we expect,” said Luzzi. “He certainly came into the game in the right frame of mind and he was rewarded. The goal came off a free kick, there was a lot of congestion in the box and in those situations goals are scored by being mentally ‘switched-on” and alert, and Pat certainly was in that instance.”
Godsey made three total saves while picking up the victory in goal.
The Huskies have won their first two matches of the season for the first time since 2008 and for just the second time since 1998. NIU will look to move to 3-0 on Sunday, Sept. 4, as the Huskies travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to play Michigan. Game time against the Wolverines is slated for 1:30 p.m. CT.