Oct. 24, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman Charlie Oliver (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) scored 45 seconds into overtime to lift the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team a 1-0 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday night at Lakeside Field. Oliver’s 91st minute tally was the first goal of his career.
“I’d say that is a pretty typical Northwestern-NIU game, (it was) tight, these games can always go either way and, at the end of the day, Charlie made a special play,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “Outside of that play, it was as even a college soccer game as you are going to get. I thought our guys put in a pretty complete performance, they battled for 90 minutes.
“We were pretty good on the ball, certainly in the first half with the wind. In the second half we defended very well to limit their chances. They are a legit top-20 team; they are going to be an NCAA Tournament team. I’m happy for our guys that they finally got some reward that, to be honest, we have deserved for a long time.”
Scoreless through 90 minutes, Northern Illinois (4-8-3) went on the attack right away to begin the overtime session. Oliver received the ball from freshman Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) and used an overhead flick to turn past one defender. After a couple of touches, Oliver fired a dipping shot across the goal inside the backpost, beating a helpless Tyler Miller in goal for Northwestern (10-4-2) to give the Huskies the win.
Oliver’s first career goal helped a young Huskie side to its first overtime win of the season. Northern Illinois played with as many as six freshmen on the field during the contest.
“Some of it was by necessity because we had some (yellow) card accumulations,” said Luzzi of the youthful lineup. “Some of it was trying a couple of things and some of it was guys earned an opportunity. I was really pleased with all of the guys, everybody to a man put in a pretty good shift today. It was a good, solid 90 minute performance by the whole team.”
With the shutout win, senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) recorded the 32nd clean sheet of his career, extending his school shutout record.
Midway through the first half, a foul just outside the box gave Northwestern a free kick in a dangerous position. Grant Wilson took the free kick from 20 yards in front of the Huskie goal, but his chance went harmlessly high and wide of Godsey.
An excellent ball from junior Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) put senior Pat Sloan (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) in a good position down the wing in the 37th minute. Sloan’s cross was collected by junior Karim Darbaki (Crystal, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) inside the Northwestern penalty area, but his shot went just wide of Miller.
Northwestern opened the second half with most of the possession. Despite having a lot of the ball, the Wildcats didn’t create any dangerous chances until the 61st minute when Joey Calistri forced an outstanding save from Godsey. Calistri found a bit of space near the top of the six-yard box and Godsey parried away his effort to keep the game scoreless.
Godsey finished the match with three saves.
As the second half went on the Huskies began creating more opportunities. In the 73rd minute, junior Gael Rivera (Oslo, Norway/WANG Elite Sports Academy) did good work along the end line to keep the ball alive, creating a chance for sophomore Paul Hogan (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North). Hogan’s initial shot was blocked and sophomore Jayson LeSeth (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) had a follow-up chance that went high.
In the 84th minute, Oliver had a chance to win it in regulation for the Huskies. Oliver’s shot from a tight angle went high and the second half ended scoreless.
Just 45 seconds into overtime, Oliver made his next opportunity count, giving the Huskies a sudden-death game-winner.
Northern Illinois will return to action this Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Huskies host West Virginia in their regular season home finale. Game time against the Mountaineers is scheduled for 1 p.m.