July 3, 2013
2013 NIU Men's Soccer Schedule
DEKALB, Ill. -- Northern Illinois men’s soccer and head coach Eric Luzzi announced its 2013 schedule today. The 2013 Huskies slate will include seven home dates, including the first night games at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex, as well as five games against NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago.
"We are excited to announce our 2013 schedule,” said Luzzi. “We always try to put together a very demanding schedule for our team and this year will be no different. It is always our goal to compete for championships, and for us to be best prepared to do that, I think it's important that we play as many other top teams as possible. This year we will play five teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last season, three of whom advanced to the Round of 16. These games will challenge our team every week throughout the season, and hopefully put us in a good position from an RPI standpoint to give us a chance to be playing well into November."
Following a pair of exhibition games against IUPUI (Aug. 17) and UIC (Aug. 24), the Huskies will open the regular season at Ohio State’s Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic. NIU will face Cincinnati (Aug. 30) in the season opener in Columbus before taking on the host Buckeyes two days later (Sept. 1).
A week later, the Huskies will return to Ohio to play in the Cincinnati Bearcat Soccer Classic, facing Evansville (Sept. 6) and Saint Louis (Sept. 8). The Billikens went 16-5 a season ago, winning the Atlantic-10 while also earning the No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Northern Illinois will make its regular season home debut on Friday, September 13, when it hosts Butler at 7 p.m., in the NIU adidas Invite. The contest will be the first game under the lights installed this summer at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
"We have adjusted our entire schedule to accommodate night games and we couldn't be more excited,” said Luzzi. “Our first night game will be our September 13 game against Butler. It will be a big night in the history of our program, and we expect a good crowd for this game and all of our other home games this season."
NIU wraps up its tournament on Sunday, Sept. 15, against UW Green Bay before beginning a challenging stretch with games against Fairleigh Dickinson (Sept. 20), an 11-win team last season that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and St. Mary’s (Sept. 22), a nine-win team in 2012 and NCAA quarterfinalist in 2011, at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic.
The challenging stretch continues with the first of four consecutive road games at Michigan State (Sept. 28), a 2012 NCAA Tournament participant, followed by the conference opener at West Virginia (Oct. 5).
"I think the MAC will be extremely competitive again this year,” said Luzzi. “We did lose one team to conference re-alignment (Florida Atlantic), and that will only serve to make our league even tighter. There is never an easy game in our conference, and I expect that every team will be better than they were last year. All of our conference games will be tough, but we will be particularly tested when we have to play West Virginia and Akron on the road in very difficult environments."
Trips to Northwestern (Oct. 9), the defending Big Ten regular season champion and 2012 NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist, and Bowling Green (Oct. 12) follow the conference opener before the Huskies finally return home against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
A rematch of last season’s Mid-American Conference Tournament Final at Akron (Oct. 26) follows the home match with Eastern Illinois. The Zips went 18-1-3 last season, winning both the MAC regular season and tournament titles, before bowing out of the NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals.
NIU will close the regular season with three of its last four at home, beginning with UW Milwaukee in the annual LeWang Cup match on Oct. 30. After a trip to Hartwick (Nov. 2), the Huskies will host Western Michigan (Nov. 5) and Buffalo (Nov. 9) to close the regular season.
The MAC Tournament will once again be hosted by the regular season champion, with the semifinals slated for Friday, Nov. 15, and the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 17.
"Now that we have finalized our schedule, it just makes me more excited for preseason,” said Luzzi. “I can't wait for August 13 (the beginning of preseason) to get here so we can get back to work with our guys to prepare for our very demanding schedule."