Nov. 4, 2010
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Seniors Engebreth Faerden and Juan Hoyos combined for three goals in their collegiate finales, helping the Northern Illinois men's soccer team to a decisive 5-1 victory over Milwaukee to retain the Lewang Cup, Thursday.
"The guys were very pleased to make sure we retained the Cup for another year," NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. "Make no mistake, this game is a big deal, and it means a lot for us to win."
The Huskies conclude the 2010 season with a 9-6-2 record, and a .588 winning percentage. Northern Illinois went 2-0-0 against the Big Ten Conference with road wins at Wisconsin and Northwestern by a combined score of 4-1. The victory allowed the Huskies to retain the Lewang Cup for the fifth straight season. NIU defeated Milwaukee by the same score last year in DeKalb.
"It's interesting, because we had so many games this year where we outshot the other team by a two or three-to-one margin, but didn't score enough," Luzzi said. "Today the shots were pretty even, but our guys were clinical and took their chances very well."
Hoyos tallied the first of a season-high five goals for the Huskies in just the third minute. Junior Finn Jor was credited with assisting the tally, which gave NIU a 1-0 lead. Milwaukee answered to tie the game in the 19th minute, when Cody Banks put away his second goal of the year.
The game remained tied until the 34th minute, when Faerden scored the first of his two goals on a free kick from just outside the box. Playing in his final match as a Huskie, Faerden added a tally in the 70th minute, also off a free kick.
"Enge scored both goals off set pieces and they were fantastic strikes," Luzzi said.
Jor would score on a rebound 10 minutes later to give the Huskies a 4-1 advantage. A Milwaukee own goal in the 87th gave the Huskies their largest margin of victory this year.
"The own goal was really Luis Mojica's goal," Luzzi said. "He attacked, pushed forward, put in a cross and one of their guys deflected it into their own goal."
In addition to being the last match for Hoyos and Faerden, it was the final contest in the Cardinal and Black for seniors Kyle Knotek and Mojica. Knotek, a 2008 Academic All-American and 2010 Academic All-District selection, won a Mid-American Conference Championship with the Huskies in 2006.
The Huskies were inches from finishing with an even better record, with all six of NIU's losses coming by just one goal.
"What this year shows is that the margin is tiny," Luzzi said. "The difference between us being 9-6-2 and us being, I don't know, 13-2-2 are just miniscule."
The Huskies have finished above .500 in six of the last seven seasons, and have taken second place or better in the MAC standings in four of those years. Despite finishing with an overall record three games above .500, the Huskies went 2-4-0 in Mid-American Conference contests and did not make the four-team conference tournament.
"In some regard, we are disappointed we didn't hit the goals we set for our team at the beginning of the season," Luzzi said. "At the same time, there are a lot of Division I teams in this country that would like to be 9-6-2."
Luzzi improved to 19-14-3 (.569) in two years guiding the program. He owns the second-best winning percentage by a coach over his first two seasons in NIU history. Only Dave Bucher had a better margin, with a .750 winning percentage after two years.