Jan. 29, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois University men’s soccer head coach Eric Luzzi announced the 2014 NIU spring schedule today. The Huskies have five dates scheduled for the 2014 spring season, including three home contests and the annual Governor’s Cup, to be held this spring at Eastern Illinois.
"We are excited for this spring season,” said Luzzi. “Overall, this might be the most challenging schedule we have put together for a spring season since I have been at NIU. Two NCAA Tournament teams in Northwestern and Wisconsin, and a third team in UIC that won 16 games last season and was likely the first team left out of the NCAA Tournament. This spring will be a very good challenge for our team."
NIU will open the 2014 spring slate on Saturday, Feb. 22, when the Huskies host Northwestern as part of NIU’s annual Coaches Clinic. The match against the Wildcats is scheduled for noon, inside the Chessick Practice Center, Northwestern finished with a 10-8-3 mark in 2013, falling to Bradley in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Following the spring opener against Northwestern, the Huskies will take a month off from competition before playing four consecutive Saturdays, beginning on March 29 against Olivet Nazarene.
The Huskies will continue the spring on April 5 with their final home match against UIC, the Flames posted a 16-4 record this past fall. NIU will travel for the first time in the spring on April 12, when it travels to Madison, Wis., to meet Wisconsin. The Badgers advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to eventual national champion Notre Dame. Wisconsin finished with a 14-5-2 record in 2013.
The spring season will conclude with the annual Governor’s Cup, held this season at Eastern Illinois, on April 19.
"I am pleased that we were able to craft the spring schedule the way that we have for this year,” said Luzzi. “It's great that the Governor's Cup will be our last event of the spring. It can be difficult if we have one more game after the Governor's Cup to keep our group motivated and hungry for an extra week after the Governor's Cup.
“The Governor's Cup is a unique opportunity to play in meaningful games in the spring, which traditionally have a similar intensity to our regular fall season matches. It's tough to play two games back-to-back, but it's a test that our guys will be up for, and will say a lot about where our group is in terms of mental and physical toughness at the end of the spring."
NIU will be looking to retain the Governor’s Cup, having defeated SIU Edwardsville, 3-0 on penalty kicks, last season. The Huskies have lifted the cup in each of the past five spring seasons.
"I am really excited to get to work again with our guys,” said Luzzi. “I am really happy with the group of players that we have this semester. With one freshman, Albert Levett, who missed the fall season now back from injury, as well as an early international enrollee, and a transfer from a Top 25 Division I school, we have three new guys, and it's a very good group right now. We obviously have a lot of work to do, as our performance last fall was far below the standard that we have for our program. But I have been very impressed with our guys' response to a disappointing fall season and I can't wait to see how far this group can develop over the next few months."
2014 NIU Men’s Soccer Spring Schedule
Saturday, February 22 -- vs. Northwestern, 12 p.m. (Chessick Practice Center --Part of NIU Coaches Clinic)
Saturday, March 29 -- vs. Olivet Nazarene, 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 5 -- vs. UIC, 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 12 -- at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 19 – Governor’s Cup at Eastern Illinois, Times TBD