Oct. 28, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
MADISON, Wis. - With 20 minutes on the clock, Northern Illinois head men's soccer coach Eric Luzzi looked at junior forward Juan Hoyos and said three words: "Make One Play."
Hoyos (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) did just that, breaking a 0-0 stalemate with a goal in the 85th minute to give the Huskies a 1-0 win at Big Ten leader Wisconsin, Wednesday night. With a defender on his back and facing away from the goal, Hoyos tapped the ball over the opponent's head, and outraced him to it deep in Badger territory. With room to work, Hoyos laced a shot past Wisconsin keeper Alex Horwath for the game-winning goal.
"It was an even game, with two teams that were battling hard," Luzzi said. Our message at halftime was that it was going to come down to one mistake or one person making a big play, and Juan made a big play."
Luzzi credited Hoyos' physicality and playmaking ability for scoring the goal.
"His sheer physical strength caused a turnover in a very dangerous area," Luzzi said.
The Huskies (9-6-1, 2-2-0 Mid-American Conference) have now won three straight and four of their last five.
For 83 minutes, it looked like no one would score. Luzzi called the game "classic NIU soccer," full of rough collisions and won on effort.
"It was a hard fought game by both teams," Luzzi said. "The referees let a lot of stuff go, so both teams were playing very physical and very hard."
In the first half, Danny Lopez (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) had the best chance for either side as he crushed a shot from 25-yards out in the 37th minute, forcing Horwath into an eye-popping save.
Until Hoyos' game-winner, senior Ben Thomas (Fairfield, Ohio/Hamilton) put forth the most threatening chance for the Huskies. After receiving a ball from Finn Jor (Oslo, Norway/Academy for Elite Athletes), Thomas shot from the right side, but Horwath was quick to dive and knock the ball away.
Wisconsin totaled six shots on the day, but never forced Huskie goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) to make a save. Northern Illinois fired 14 shots, with three on goal. The Huskies accumulated seven corner kicks to Wisconsin's four.
"Our defenders dealt very well with anything Wisconsin threw at us," Luzzi said.
Northern Illinois returns to the pitch Saturday, when they face Bowling Green on the road. The Huskies wrap up the regular season at home, Nov. 4, against Western Michigan.