Oct. 24, 2007
Final Stats |
DeKALB, Ill. - Senior Marcus McCarty scored two goals, including the game-winner in the 102nd minute of play, sending the Huskies to a 2-1 win over No. 9 Northwestern, Wednesday.
"This shows that with the top-ranked teams in the country, we can win," NIU head coach Steve Simmons said. "Northwestern is a fantastic team. They're in the thick of it to win the Big Ten, so for us to do that shows resiliency and the fact that we continue to believe."
The Huskies move to 5-6-4 (1-1-1 Mid-American Conference) with the win in a season defined by ties and close losses despite a high-level play.
"When you've got teams on one side who are getting results and teams on the other side that aren't getting results and both are good teams, I think a lot of the times the difference is belief. I credit the guys for continuing to believe," Simmons said.
Simmons regarded Wednesday's win as a potential watershed match in the 2007 season.
"Maybe this is one of those defining moments going into the last three games of the year," he said.
The Huskies had to come from behind to capture the team's first win over the Wildcats since 2000. Northwestern's Matt Witt put NIU in a 1-0 hole during the 63rd minute with a goal from the left side of the box assisted by David Roth.
McCarty (Fort Worth, Texas/Fossil Ridge), a player with nine career game-winning goals and a penchant for drama, waited until the the 89th minute of play before scoring the goal that sent the match to overtime.
With little time to spare, Blake Gotkowski (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) fed a crossing pass from near midfield to Chris Johnson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Yavapai C.C.) who found McCarty for the score.
"That was a classic Marcus McCarty goal, where he gets in there, hooks himself and pounds it," Simmons said.
The goal also came with NIU playing against 35 mph wind, which they continued to face in the first overtime.
"Even with the wind at our face we were creating a lot of chances," Simmons said.
When the teams switched sides and NIU began the second overtime with the wind at its back, the Huskies wasted no time scoring the golden goal to win the match.
Just over a minute into the period, Northern Illinois earned a corner kick. The mixer was headed toward the goal by Josh Karsten (Barrington Hills, Ill./Barrington), where Northwestern keeper Will Briley deflected the ball into the crossbar, sending the ball skyward.
Huskie junior Drew Jeskey (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) caught the ball on its plummet and found McCarty inside the six-yard box for the game-ender.
Simmons credits the double-overtime win to his team's resolve in the face of adversity.
"Sometimes you have to have these type of results to reaffirm (your confidence), but it's always inside of you," he said. "Our players deserved that win."
The Huskies return to MAC play against Hartwick, Friday at 1 p.m. in Oneonta, N.Y.