Aug. 15, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team officially hit the field for the first time this season to participate in an intrasquad scrimmage, Wednesday.
Head coach Steve Simmons saw the exhibition as a chance to push his team physically and mentally on the second day of training.
"We did fitness and training this morning, so for these guys to play 90 minutes is a good stretch," Simmons said.
For the scrimmage, Simmons split his squad into two groups, primarily based on the age and experience of the players. The older cardinal team, which included three 2006 All-MAC performers, controlled the match, taking a 3-0 victory over the generally younger white team.
"Both sides did some good things, regardless of the score," Simmons said. "The cardinal team shut things down defensively, which is an expectation we have of them."
After a pass out of the middle from Fraser Gibson (Dumbarton, Scotland/Dumbarton Academy), junior Steve Kolzow (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) opened up the scoring in the 19th minute. Kolzow blasted a shot from the right side that found its way past freshman keeper Scott Angevine (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley Northwest), and into the net.
The cardinal team added another tally before the end of the opening period. Frankfort, Ill. native Blake Gotkowski (Lincoln Way East) took a free kick after a foul which rattled in the box before Drew Jeskey (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) sent the ball home at the 39:30 mark.
Despite allowing two goals in the first half, Simmons said he thought Angevine played well, as did his fellow freshman Per Engebreth Faerden (Oslo, Norway/Academy for Top Athletes) and Luis Mojica (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East).
"Engebreth and Mojica did solid for us in the middle," Simmons said. "They did especially well when you consider it was the first time they've ever played together."
Both nets remained unblemished in the second half, with the exception of an own goal for the white team, creating the 3-0 final. After the match, Simmons spoke highly of his team's defensive effort.
"We created a lot of defensive pressure, making it difficult for the offense to string together four or five passes," he said. "The defense allowed for a very small margin of error, and that's realistic to game conditions."
The Huskies will get two more warm-ups before opening the regular season, August 31 against Bucknell. The first comes versus DePaul, Saturday at 4 p.m. in DeKalb. For the second, NIU will travel to Milwaukee, Wis., to face the Marquette Golden Eagles, Friday, Aug. 24.