DEKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team played to a scoreless draw with Rhode Island on Friday afternoon in the NIU adidas Invitational. The Huskies allowed just one shot on goal in 110 minutes of play but were unable to find the net on the other end as the match finished even.
“Rhode Island is a decent team,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “They made it hard for us at times. They try to play and they have some good players, but they also aren’t afraid to mix it up and drive some balls at the backline. I thought our guys dealt with that stuff pretty well.’
NIU senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) recorded the 27th shutout of his career against the Rams, breaking a school-record previously held by Markus Roy (1988-91).
The best chance of the first half fell to sophomore miefielder Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Min./Prairie Seeds Academy) in the 18th minute. Sophomore forward Paul Hogan (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove/North) played Kannah in all alone on the goalkeeper just inside the 18-yard box. Kannah’s shot looked like it would open the scoring but Rhode Island goalkeeper Thomas Spenser made a diving save to keep the game scoreless.
Northern Illinois (0-2-1) had another opportunity from freshman Gabe Christianson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy) in the 38th minute. After good buildup play down the left side, Christianson found himself eight yards from goal but sent his shot just wide of the right post.
At the intermission, the Huskies held a 6-3 advantage in shots, including a 3-1 edge in shots on target.
A breakthrough looked as though it might come in the 74th minute on a chance by junior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s). Sophomore midfielder Jabari Danzy (Park Forest, Ill./Marian Catholic) crossed a ball in from the right and Stevenson met it with a flashing header just over the top of the crossbar.
NIU had another chance three minutes later when a foul setup a free kick in a dangerous position just outside of the Rhode Island (0-2-2) penalty area. Junior Karim Darbaki (Crystal, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) stepped up to take the opportunity and forced a good save from Spenser in goal.
After 90 minutes, the Huskies had outshot the Rams 13-4.
In the dying moments of the first overtime session, sophomore Dusty Page (Germantown, Wis./ Kettle Moraine Lutheran) had a chance from inside the area off a long throw, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
NIU finished the match with a 17-6 edge in shots and a 6-1 advantage in shots on goal.
“I just told the guys that other than not scoring a goal, I have nothing negative to say,” said Luzzi. “We moved the ball well, we had the lion’s share of possession, we had the lion’s share of the chances. We forced their goalkeeper into two very good saves. We did everything right today except score a goal and, at the end of the day, that is the game sometimes.”
Northern Illinois returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 9, when it hosts Drake in the final game of the NIU adidas Invitational. Game time against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 2 p.m., at the