July 16, 2014
2014 Men's Soccer Schedule
DEKALB, Ill. -- Nine home games and five contests against NCAA Tournament teams highlight the 2014 NIU Men’s Soccer schedule, head coach Eric Luzzi announced on Wednesday. The Huskies open the 2014 campaign with a home exhibition contest on Aug. 16 against Western Illinois.
“I am excited to announce another very good schedule for 2014,” said Luzzi. “Our players want to be challenged by playing some of the best teams Division I soccer and this year will be no different. We will play five teams that played in the NCAA Tournament last year, four conference champions, plus some other very big names in college soccer like Cal Poly, Santa Clara and SMU. This will be a schedule that challenges our team every single week, and there is not one easy game on the schedule.”
After beginning with a trio of exhibition contests, including a home match against Western Illinois on Saturday, Aug. 16, the Huskies will begin the regular season campaign at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic, where they will face Hofstra (Aug. 29) and Quinnipiac (Aug. 31), the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant. NIU will then travel west for a pair of games in California as the Huskies will visit Cal Poly on Sept. 5, and Santa Clara on Sept. 7,
Following the trip west, NIU will open the home portion of its regular season schedule with a three-game home stand, beginning on Friday, Sept. 12 against UIC. The Huskies will also host Green Bay (Sept. 14) and defending Big East champion Marquette (Sept. 20). The Golden Eagles reached the Round of 16 in last year’s NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual semifinalist Virginia.
“The one aspect that I am most excited about in this year's schedule is the number of quality home games that we will have this year,” said Luzzi. “This will be our first full season with lights, and to have teams like Akron, Marquette, Northwestern, SIU-E, UIC and West Virginia coming to DeKalb is a big deal. All of these teams very well could be Top 25 ranked teams when we play them, so our home fans will have the opportunity to watch what is truly the highest level of college soccer right here in DeKalb."
A visit to Milwaukee (Sept. 23) to meet the defending Horizon League champion Panthers in the annual Lewang Cup contest begins a stretch of three consecutive road contests that also sees the Huskies travel to Dallas to meet SMU (Oct. 1) and Chicago to visit Loyola (Oct. 4).
Northwestern, another 2013 NCAA Tournament foe, visits DeKalb on Wednesday, Oct. 8, before the Huskies begin their Mid-American Conference slate by hosting West Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 11, as five of NIU’s final six games will be conference contests.
The lone non-conference matchup in the final stretch will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 22, when SIU Edwardsville visits DeKalb. The Huskies will close the regular season with a pair of home games as defending conference champion Akron (Nov. 1) and Bowling Green (Nov. 8) visit NIU. The MAC Tournament begins on Friday, Nov. 14, with the semifinals, hosted by the regular season conference champion.
“I expect that our group will be extremely hungry when they come back to campus for preseason,” said Luzzi. “The honest truth is that last season was not good enough. I am excited to get our guys back to campus so we can get to work preparing for this tough schedule that we have put together.”