Oct. 7, 2007
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DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois goalkeeper Brian Van Buren recorded his second straight shutout, while Huskie freshman Juan Hoyos scored his first collegiate goal, helping NIU to a 1-0 victory over Western Illinois Sunday at Huskie Soccer Field.
"Every time we play Western it is a dog fight like it was today," NIU head coach Steve Simmons said.
Hoyos (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) scored the game-winning goal at the 54:36 mark. Van Buren (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore) used a goal kick to Josh Karsten (Barrington Hills, Ill./Barrington) to start an NIU breakaway. Karsten then found Hoyos, who outran two Leatherneck defenders to earn enough space to score.
After the goal, NIU held on for its second win in a row. The Huskies defeated Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan 4-0, Friday. Simmons said the weekend was the perfect time to get on track.
"The timing of this couldn't have been better," he said. "It's always a good time to win; it's especially good to do it at home and good to do it shutting out teams."
The Huskies recorded their second consecutive shutout without one of their best defenders. Senior Chris Rufa (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South), a member of the 2006 All-MAC First Team, exited the game early in the first half after a violent midair collision opened a gash on his head.
"How about our depth?" Simmons said after the game. "(Kyle) Knotek is out, (starting goalkeepter Joe) Zimka is out, Rufa is still getting stitches, and these guys that don't get a lot of playing time came in and got it done."
Sunday's match was a one-game hiatus from MAC play for the Huskies, who return to conference action Saturday to face No. 28 Akron. NIU defeated the Zips 1-0 for the MAC Championship last time the teams met.
"It's good that the guys feel recentered, because we all know what the next item on the agenda is," Simmons said.
The Huskies will face the Zips Saturday, Oct. 13 at 6:30 p.m. (CST) in Akron, Ohio.