Sept. 6, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Eric Luzzi's first win as Northern Illinois men's soccer coach could not have looked more impressive. The Huskie offense exploded in a 4-1 win over UNC-Greensboro at the North Carolina Nike Invitational, Sunday.
"It was my first win, but I'm thinking more about how it was a good win for our team," Luzzi said.
NIU (1-1-1) trailed for only four minutes to the 2008 Sweet 16 participant after allowing the game's first goal in the 15th minute. In the 19th, sophomore Brad Horton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) capitalized on a penalty kick, his first of two goals on the day, to bring the Huskies even. Ten minutes later senior Brad Bahr (Peoria, Ill./Dunlap) netted the first goal of his career with an assist from Ben Thomas (Fairfield, Ohio/Hamilton).
Northern Illinois went into halftime with a 2-1 lead, having outshot the Spartans 11-2, and forced UNC-Greensboro (0-2-0) keeper Peyton Ford to make six saves.
"The attack today started with being organized defensively," Luzzi said. "Our guys battled hard, and pounced on any bad pass or touch, and made good decisions after we won the ball."
The Huskies continued the assault in the second period. Thomas received a pass from junior Engebreth Faerden (Oslo, Norway/Academy for Elite Athletes) and finished back post in the 66th minute, and Horton added his second tally with a 78th-minute volley from inside the box.
"Anytime a team gets down they have to chase the game," Luzzi said. "It was good to see us put some purposeful attacks together."
Overall, the Huskies took 19 shots to the Spartans' three, and totaled nine corner kicks while Greensboro managed only two. The three-goal margin is the largest for NIU since defeating Xavier, Sept. 12, 2008 by four.
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs), who made his second consecutive start for NIU, was helped by a Huskie backfield that allowed only two shots on goal.
The Huskies finished the UNC Nike Invite with a 1-0-1 record, including Sunday's win, and a tie of No. 1-ranked Tar Heels, Friday.
"To get a win and a tie at North Carolina and put ourselves in position to win their tournament at their place is a good weekend," Luzzi said. The Huskies placed second at the four team tournament. Both NIU and the Tar Heels went 1-0-1, with UNC taking first based on goal differential. Godsey, Tim King (Arlington Heights, Ill./Conant) and Danny Lopez (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) were all named to the all-tournament team
Northern Illinois returns home to the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex, Friday, to host Tulsa at 5 p.m.