Oct. 14, 2008
Box Score in PDF Format
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - After going down 2-0 to Milwaukee, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team scored twice in the last 20 minutes of regulation to tie the Panthers and retain the John LeWang Cup, Tuesday night.
“It was tremendous resiliency and spirit to come back,” head coach Steve Simmons said. “When you make a mistake, like we made mistakes, you’re going to be disappointed, but we did such a good job of being disappointed for a short time.”
Junior Ben Thomas (Fairfield, Ohio/Hamilton) found the net on both Huskie scores, his second and third goals of the season.
Thomas brought the Huskies within one goal in the 72nd minute with a blast from 20 yards out after a deflected corner kick from Engebreth Faerden (Olso, Norway/Academy for Elite Athletes).
“Ben had his body shape right, and was attentive enough to take his chance the first time,” Simmons said. “It’s the details that lead up to that goal that allowed Ben to maximize on the opportunity.”
Eight minutes later, with the score 2-1, freshman Jason Geuhler (The Colony, Texas/The Colony) found Thomas speeding down the right flank. Thomas beat the keeper to tie the match in the 80th minute and help NIU bring home the LeWang Cup for the third straight year.
“Ben started his run early and made it obvious where to play the ball,” Simmons said. “When you hit the ball, you could see the confidence he gained from the first goal roll over into th second goal.”
The Huskies had to battle from behind despite outperforming the Panthers in nearly every statistical category. Northern Illinois outshot Milwaukee 27-8, with an 11-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Huskies also had 16 corner kicks, the second most in school history, compared to just one from the Panthers.
Northern Illinois fell into an early hole, as a miscommunication in the Huskie box caused a turnover that allowed Adam Skalecki to put the Panthers up 1-0 less than 10 minutes into the match.
The teams played even on the scoreboard until the 57th minute. Milwaukee’s Tony Maxey fired a shot that NIU keeper Joe Zimka (Algonquin, Ill./Jacobs) deflected to Panther Nkuti Ndely, who tapped the ball in to put Milwaukee up 2-0.
After coming back to tie it up, the Huskies were unable to finish off the Panthers despite earning four corner kicks and placing two shots on goal in the last 10 minutes of regulation.
Northern Illinois returns to DeKalb to host Mid-American Conference opponent Hartwick, Saturday, Oct. 18 at noon.
“Outside of the scoreline, we have tons of positives to take into a match Saturday,” Simmons said. “Hartwick is a superb team, and their in good form right now.”
The game precedes the Northern Illinois Homecoming football game against Toledo, which starts at 3 p.m.. Additionally, the Huskie volleyball team plays at 7 p.m. to round out an NIU Athletics triple-header.
“It’s a big Saturday with the soccer-football-volleyball triple-header,” Simmons said. “All the football fans that are there early are welcome to stop by the new facility and check it out.”
Admission to all Huskie men’s soccer matches is free. Fans planning to attend the men’s soccer match should contact Kylie Stannard at (815) 753-6873 for information on parking.