Sept. 9, 2007
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Sophomore Ben Thomas scored Northern Illinois' only goal in the 28th minute as the Huskies played No. 9 Notre Dame to a 1-1 double-overtime stalemate at Alumni Field Sunday.
The result gives the Huskies a 0-1-1 record at the Mike Berticelli Invitational, where they faced No. 4 Indiana Friday.
"This was a 'Final Four' type weekend," head coach Steve Simmons said. "(No. 1-ranked) UCLA played these two teams last weekend, and came away with two losses. So, for us to come away with these results is a big-time tribute to our players."
Simmons was especially happy about the way his players bounced back from Friday's 1-0 loss to the Hoosiers.
"I was so proud of the fact that the guys put the disappointing result behind them and focused," Simmons said. "To go from playing No. 4 (Indiana) to No. 9 (Notre Dame) in 48 hours takes a tremendous amount of character."
The Huskies (1-1-2) went down a goal to the Fighting Irish early in the match, as Matt Armstrong found Kurt Martin for a goal at the 16:25 mark.
"He took that shot from about 30 yards out, and it swerved a couple time and caught Joe for one-nil," Simmons said.
Northern Illinois responded later in the first half, as Thomas (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield) received a pass from Marcus McCarty (Fort Worth, Texas/Fossil Ridge) in the 28th minute, and converted his chance into the equalizing goal.
"Ben and Marcus worked together well throughout the match," Simmons said.
The goal was Thomas' first of 2007, and made him the fourth Huskie to find the net this season.
McCarty took the most chances of any Huskie, laying his foot into six shots, two of which forced Irish keeper Chris Cahill to make saves. Notre Dame outshot Northern Illinois 22-14, but only put two more shots on goal than NIU.
The Huskies return to DeKalb as the host of the NIU-adidas/ Baymont Inn Invitattional, Friday Sept. 14-16.
"For us, Huskie Soccer Field has been hallowed ground the last two years," Simmons said, referring to the team's 13-3-1 record in Dekalb since 2005.
Northern Illinois will look to continue that success, Friday at 4:30 p.m., when the Huskies host UMKC.