Sept. 18, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. - Northern Illinois scored four first half goals with senior Luis De La Cerda (Guadalajara, Mexico/Waubonsie Valley HS) record two goals and an assist to lead the Huskie men's soccer team to a 5-0 win over Lafayette in the opening game of Northwestern's Lakeside Classic at Lakeside Field in Evanston.
With the victory, Northern Illinois improved its record to 3-2-2 on the season as the Huskies won their second straight match. Lafayette, which came into Friday's match undefeated and had surrendered just one goal on the year, dropped to 4-1-1.
While the five-goal scoring output put a smile on NIU head coach Eric Luzzi's face, he was most impressed by the play of the Huskie defense. The Leopards out-shot Northern Illinois, 17-11, and had eight corner kicks to none for NIU.
"It was kind of an odd game," Luzzi said. "At the end of the day, they outshot us. They put a lot of pressure on us in terms of driving, and putting dangerous serves into the penalty box. You see five goals [for NIU] and that's a good statement for our attack, but really our back four [players] were spectacular from a standpoint of battling and winning difficult challenges with head balls in the air and balls in the box."
Northern Illinois took a 1-0 lead at the 14:48 mark in the first half as De La Cerda set up Josh Karsten (Barrington Hills, Ill./Barrington Hills HS) who put a header in the net for his second goal of the year. Less than five minutes later, De La Cerda did the work himself, scoring in the upper right corner of the net off of a direct kick after a hand ball call. The senior from Guadalajara, Mexico continued his first half onslaught in the 24th minute with the goal Luzzi called the prettiest of the day as Juan Hoyos (Aurora, Ill./Waubonside Valley HS) executed a perfect one time pass with his chest right into the path of De La Cerda, who finished for a 3-0 Huskie advantage.
"[Luis] is in very good form right now," Luzzi said. "He did all the things we ask him to do. He found the ball, got the ball off of our back row and is making plays right now. He's playing very intelligently and exhibiting great form. The third goal, especially, was a great soccer goal."
Sycamore's Brad Horton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore HS) closed out the first half outburst for the Huskies with his third goal of the season on an assist from Luis Mojica. Northern Illinois took just five shots in the first half, and scored on four of them.
"To be fair, we were very efficient," Luzzi said. "We had five shots [in the first half] and four of them go in. It was 4-0 at halftime and it's not like we really controlled the first half, it was a pretty even half. We knew that the game was by no means over. We knew they were going to throw everything they had at us in the second half. It would have been easy to have a letdown at half up 4-0, but the team came out in the second half with a very professional mentality of doing what they need to do to close it out."
Freshman Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs HS) recorded the shutout for the Huskies in goal, although Luzzi was quick to compliment the entire back line of defenders.
NIU returns to Lakeside Field Sunday at noon to take on South Carolina. Luzzi said it is critical that the Huskies bring the same attitude to that contest.
"We played a pretty good game, but the reason we had success was because we worked really hard and battled for everything. If we come out Sunday with the same work ethic, same desire and same mentality, we should be OK."
-- NIU --
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