Oct. 17, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
AKRON, Ohio - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team nearly caught lightning in a bottle for a second time this season, but fell just short of upsetting No. 1 Akron on the road Saturday.
Michael Nanchoff of the unanimously top-ranked Zips (13-0-0, 3-0-0) used a free kick from 19 yards out in the 70th minute to score the only goal of the match, leading Akron to a 1-0 victory. The Huskies were looking for their second road result against a No. 1-ranked team this year, as they tied No. 1 North Carolina, 1-1, in September.
NIU Head Coach Eric Luzzi was happy with his team's effort in their second match of the year against a No. 1 team.
"The guys weren't intimidated, and I'm proud of that," Luzzi said. "They came in with the right mindset and focused on our work rate and our game plan."
The Huskies (6-6-1, 1-2-0 MAC) came as close as anyone has to upending Akron. Northern Illinois' loss is only the third one-goal decision the Zips have allowed this year. On average, Akron is outscoring its opponents by nearly three goals a match.
"If you look at the stats, they had a bit more in the play," Luzzi said. "But if you look at it compared to what other teams have done against them, we did well."
Northern Illinois didn't give up a goal to Akron in the run of play, an impressive feat considering the Zips' usual offensive output of 2.77 goals per match.
"It terms of true chances, they had a couple, but it wasn't chance after chance after chance," Luzzi said. "There were stretches where we were under pressure, but there were stretches were it was even as well."
The score came after Nanchoff's free kick ricocheted off the wall, changing angles en route to the goal.
"The shot had a decent amount of pace, got deflected and redirected," Luzzi said. "I think (goalkeeper) Jordan (Godsey) would have had it if it would not have been deflected."
The Huskies will have to quickly put Saturday's result behind them, as they host Milwaukee for the LeWang Cup, Tuesday afternoon in DeKalb.