Nov. 11, 2006
DeKalb, Ill.- No. 19 Northern Illinois men's soccer shutout Loyola 1-0 (OT) in the first-round of NCAA Tournament play at Huskie Soccer Field. The Huskies now advance to the second-round of contest to face no. 6 ranked Indiana on Wednesday, November 15 in Bloomington, Ind.
"Hats off to Loyola for a fantastic match," said head coach Steve Simmons. "Both teams played a tremendous game and after they [Ramblers] went a man down the game turned. Unfortunately we were not able to capitalize on that turn right away, but we kept believing."
Senior midfielder Justin McGrane (Rockford, Ill./ Boylan) was amongst the Huskie believers when he couldn't have choosen a better time to score his first goal on the season. McGrane's game-winning goal came during the 97:34 minute of play in overtime. His netter was assisted by Kevin Woerner (Elmhurst, Ill./ York) and Marcus McCarty (Fort Worth, Tex./ Fossil Ridge). Woerner threw the ball into the box to McCarty who tapped it on goal. Rebounding the ball with his left foot, McGrane gathered the loose ball and blasted it into the back of the net. This was McGrane's sixth goal in his career at NIU.
Sophomore goal keeper Joe Zimka improved his flawless record in the net to 11-0 on the season to prove why he remains the nations leading netminder with a goals-against average of 0.15. Zimka recorded two saves against the Ramblers for the Huskies.
NIU leads the all-time series 12-4-2 against Loyola. The Huskies were on fire from a statistical standpoint putting 19 shots on goal compartively to the Ramblers six. Loyola played a man down for the match after receiving an early red card in the 22:22 minute of play.
The Huskies remain undefeated (9-0) on their home field for the year allowing only one goal during regular-season action against Drake on September 8, 2006.
NIU is back in action on Wednesday, November 15 when they will travel to Bloomington, Ind. to face the seveth seeded Hoosiers in the second-round of Tournament play at 6:00 p.m. (CST).
"Playing Indiana will be a tremendous opportunity for us," Simmons said. "We've prepared for the big stage all season and are excited to play the Hoosiers."
(For further information, please contact Katie Hein at 815.753.9572).