Feb. 21, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois men’s soccer head coach Eric Luzzi announced a five-date spring schedule, including three home dates and the annual Governor’s Cup competition.
"I am excited to announce our spring schedule for this year,” said Luzzi. “Our associate head coach, Scott Donnelly, did a great job to put together a schedule that will challenge our team this spring. We play two conference champions from last fall (Maquette of the Big East and Valparaiso of the Horizon League), as well as four other very good Division I teams, and one of the best Division II teams in the country in Lewis University."
NIU will open its spring slate this Saturday, Feb. 25, hosting Valparaiso at the DeKalb Recreation Center. The match against the Crusaders, held in conjunction with the NIU Coaches Clinic, will begin at noon. The Huskies earned a 1-0 win over Valparaiso during the fall season; the Crusaders went on to post a 9-6-5 overall record and won the Horizon League regular season title.
The Huskies will then face Big East regular season champion Marquette in Milwaukee. NIU defeated the Golden Eagles, 1-0, in overtime during the 2011 regular season.
Following a pair of home matches against UIC and UW-Green Bay on March 31, NIU will travel to the Governor’s Cup on April 14, hosted this season by SIU Edwardsville. The four-team tournament also includes Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois.
"We are fortunate to once again be the current holders of our Governors Cup,” said Luzzi. “This is a very unique spring event from the standpoint that our games at this Cup always take on the intensity of a fall season game, which is hard to attain in a spring game. The other three teams will definitely be hungry to take the Cup from us, and making sure that we keep the Governors Cup will be a great challenge that we will look forward to."
NIU will conclude its spring season on Saturday, April 21, when the Huskies host Division II Lewis University. The Flyers have appeared in seven NCAA Tournaments since 2000, including a pair of trips to the Division II Final Four.
"We really enjoy the spring season, as it gives us a chance to work intensely with our players to help make them better players,” said Luzzi. “We have already seen a lot of growth from a number of players in the few weeks that we have been together this spring and I am looking forward to these spring games to see where our team really is coming off a historic season last fall. To be honest, we have not lost a spring game since 2009, I think that's a credit to the way that our team approaches the spring season, and I am hopeful that we will have another very successful spring in terms of moving our team forward and putting us in a position to compete for more trophies when we come back together for the fall 2012 campaign.”
NIU Men’s Soccer Spring Schedule
Saturday, February 25th -- vs. Valparaiso at DeKalb Recreation Center (noon)
Saturday, March 24th -- at Marquette (7 p.m.)
Saturday, March 31st -- vs. UIC (noon)
Saturday, April 14th -- Governor’s Cup at SIU Edwardville
Saturday, April 21st -- vs. Lewis (noon)
Game times for the last three events will be set in the near future.