Oct. 2, 2010
Box Score in PDF Format
DeKALB - Despite controlling possession and play for the majority of the match, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team fell in its Mid-American Conference opener 1-0 to Hartwick, Saturday.
"Credit to Hartwick, they fought hard for 90 minutes and were very opportunistic," NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said.
Hartwick struck in the 63rd minute. The Hawks earned their only corner kick of the match and took advantage of a 40 mile per hour wind at their backs. Owen Botting took the corner and, with the strong wind helping his cause, placed it in the upper corner far post.
"There was a 40 mile per hour wind driving down the field that had a freakish effect on a corner kick," Luzzi said.
NIU fell to 4-3-2 and 0-1-0 in Mid-American Conference play with the result. Hartwick improved to 2-7-1 and evened its MAC record at 1-1-0.
The Huskies outshot Hartwick 28-8, with a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. Northern Illinois had multiple scoring opportunities, but could not capitalize. Despite the loss, Luzzi was satisfied with his team's performance.
"Ninety-eight percent of what we're doing on both sides of the ball is really, really good," he said. "We created a lot of chances that we just need to finish."
The list of near misses for NIU seems endless. A shot from Horton in the seventh minute hit the inside of the left post before darting away from the goal. Mino Kayser tallied the only shot on goal of the half, though chances from Gael Rivera, Sean Totsch, and Kyle Knotek in the first half were nearly as close. Still, despite a 13-2 shot margin, the teams entered halftime in a scoreless tie.
Finn Jor opened the second half weaving through the Hartwick defense before taking a strike from inside the box. The attempt was stunted by Hartwick keeper Lee Fenner. The try was one of three NIU took in the first five minutes of the half.
Rivera unleashed a beautiful give-and-go with Juan Hoyos in the 53rd minute before laying a strike on target that Fenner again rescued from the net.
In the 70th minute, a shot from Johnny Tyma that rebounded back to him. Tyma fired another shot that was also saved. The ball deflected out to Luis Mojica, who took a chance wide to end the flurry.
Northern Illinois returns to the pitch Oct. 6 for a match at Wisconsin before returning home to face No. 1 Akron, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m.