Huskies Honor Seniors with 1-0 Win Over Buffalo
Oct. 11, 2009
DeKALB, Ill. - On a crisp fall Senior Day, it was only appropriate that the field at the Northern Illinois Soccer and Track & Field Complex was dotted with reds and yellows, as the Huskie men's soccer team ousted Buffalo, 1-0, Sunday.
Northern Illinois evened its Mid-American Conference record at 1-1-0 and improved to 6-5-1 overall in a game that saw two red cards and four yellows.
"Every time we play Buffalo, it is an absolute war, and today was no different," NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. "Both teams battled really, really hard and both teams fought for everything."
The Huskies scored the lone goal of the match after throw-in from Rocco Taglia (Caledonia, Ill./Boylan) in the 48th minute. The freshman's long throw carried well into the box where, under heavy pressure from Huskie senior Josh Karsten (Barrington Hills, Ill./Barrington), a UB defender headed the ball into his own net. Luzzi credited Karsten with turning an opportunity into a goal.
"Josh had enough presence to make that play happen," Luzzi said. "We knew it was probably going to be one play that decided the game, and we were fortunate enough that play went in our favor."
After one yellow card in the first half, the colors of fall burst forth in the second period. Buffalo midfielder Alex Mihal earned the first red card in the 82nd minute, and his head coach John Astudillo followed him off the pitch after consecutive yellows in the 84th. The Bulls were also called for yellows in the 31st and 82nd minutes of play. Northern Illinois sophomore Francis Otira (London, England/Finchley Catholic) was the only Huskie booked, earning a yellow in the 54th minute.
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Godsey recorded the fifth shutout of his Huskie career. Godsey made five saves, including a leaping, one-handed deflection in the 51st minute that shut out Buffalo's best opportunity of the match.
Northern Illinois earned a multitude of chances. In addition to several long throw-in opportunities like the one NIU scored on, the Huskies accumulated 14 corner kicks, fourth-most in a match in school history. Buffalo totaled just one corner, and was outshot by NIU 12-10.
NIU honored six seniors prior to the match: Karsten, Brad Bahr (Peoria, Ill./Dunlap), Luis De La Cerda (Guadalajara, Mexico/Waubonsie Valley), Danny Lopez (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson), Ben Thomas (Fairfield, Ohio/Hamilton) and Aaron Zendejas (Okinawa, Japan/Kadena).
"This game restated our identity of battling for everything," Luzzi said. "That is what our seniors have been about for four years."
The Huskies will now look toward an Oct. 17 match-up with the consensus No. 1 team in the country, Akron. Northern Illinois tied a top-ranked team in the country earlier this year with a 1-1 result at current No. 2 North Carolina.
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