Sept. 21, 2008
Box Score in PDF Format
TUSLA, Okla. - After going unbeaten over the first seven games of the season, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team lost its first match this year, falling 2-1 to Tulsa in overtime, Sunday.
NIU Head Coach Steve Simmons said Tulsa's halftime adjustments were the key.
"They changed their tactics in the second half," Simmons said. "They came out and fought pretty hard, while we fought in spurts."
The Huskies (5-1-2) went up 1-0 in the waning moments of the first half, as junior Ben Thomas (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield) found first-year forward Finn Jor (Olso, Norway/Academy for Elite Athletes) for the freshman's second goal of the season.
Northern Illinois held the Golden Hurricanes (4-3-1) scoreless until the 82nd minute, when one of Neil Austin's five shots found the back of the net to tie the match.
"You've got to be able to close a game out in the last ten minutes," Simmons said. "We needed to manage the game better, and we didn't."
Tulsa won the contest with just 19 seconds left in the sudden victory overtime period, when Austin scored his second goal, this one to win the match.
"We got stretched, and they were playing very direct," Simmons said of the game-ending play. "We missed a couple tackles, and they got into the area and hit it in off a rebound."
NIU outshot the Golden Hurricane 10-2 in the first half, but Tulsa took seven opportunities to the Huskies' 5 in the second period. Northern Illinois put five shots on target, while Tulsa scored twice with only three shots on goal.
The heartbreaking loss is a sharp contrast to the Huskies' experience Friday, when the team upset No. 2 SMU, 1-0, with a goal from freshman Brad Horton (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) in the opening moments of overtime.
The Huskies return to DeKalb to open Mid-American Conference play against Florida Atlantic, Friday