Nov. 17, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - Carried by three goals, two in the first half, the Northern Illinois Huskies continued their postseason magic with a 3-0 victory over in-state foe Western Illinois. Sophomore Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) scored the gamewinner for the second consecutive match, giving NIU its 15th win of the season and tying the program record for most single season wins. Northern Illinois will now head to No. 2 seed Creighton on Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
"Even though we were able to score two goals in the first half and have a multiple goal victory, it does not mean it was an easy game," said Head Coach Eric Luzzi during the post-match press conference, "I thought we made the most of a couple of half chances and I thought for the most part, we managed things pretty well to limit any chances that they tried to take.
"I think (a win like this is) huge. We expect to be a team in this position every year. So the fact that we're here, we're hosting and we had a good crowd, I'm pleased for the guys and for our program because it makes a statement about who we are and where we're at."
The Huskies did not waste any time making a statement in the match as Totsch got the right touch from sophomore Karim Darbaki (Fairbuilt, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary's) inside the six yard box to slip the ball into the net for NIU's first goal of the match at 19:46. It was Totsch's third goal of the season. Totsch has now scored the gamewinner for the Huskies in each of the last two matches, and has tallied in three of the last four matches.
In the 43rd minute, freshman Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) doubled the Huskies' lead following a pair of precise passes from sophomore James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo's) and senior Kenny Kranz (Champaign, Ill./Centennial) to lift NIU to a 2-0 lead they carried into halftime. Kannah swept a low finish past goalkeeper Andy Ryan from the center of the box.
The Leathernecks came out with more energy in the second half, firing three shots in the opening seven minutes, however none tested junior Jordan Godsey's (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs). WIU was only able to connect with one shot on goal in the match, occurring in the 84th minute, when Daniel Lewis hit a roller to the All-MAC keeper.
"Any time you limit (a team to one shot on goal), it's a statement of the group as a whole - all 11 guys have to be brought into that (equation). The back six and Jordan were very solid today," remarked Luzzi.
With the final tally of the of the afternoon, junior Mike Mascitti (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove) scored his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute following a layoff from Kranz, who registered his second assist of the day, giving the Huskies their ninth multiple goal contest.
NIU will now travel to Omaha, Neb. for a second round matchup against No. 2 Creighton (18-2-0). The match is slated to begin at 1 p.m. CT.