Aug 16, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. -- After just three days of practice, the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team will take to the field for its first of two exhibition contests on Saturday as the Huskies host IUPUI at 4 p.m., at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
In the six training sessions prior to Saturday’s exhibition, NIU head coach Eric Luzzi has liked some of what he has seen from the 2013 Huskies.
“On the whole it has been a little up-and-down,” said Luzzi. “But the parts that have been good have been really good for three days. We have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball, but early signs after a couple of days, on the ball, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be a team that scores a fair amount of goals this year.”
With 11 newcomers making up nearly half of the roster, Saturday’s meeting with the Jaguars will give Luzzi and his staff the opportunity to evaluate some elements of the game that are difficult to evaluate in a practice setting.
“We need to make sure that every single person brings a competitive mentality into the game,” said Luzzi. “We have a lot of new guys and they need to understand what our standard is for how we compete. Secondly, it gives us a chance to give a bunch of guys looks at different spots, different back fours, different combinations of players in the attack.
“It gives us a window into how some of the new guys are progressing, who is ready to play real minutes and who might not quite be ready yet. Lastly, we want to make sure that we get out of the game injury free.”
The Jaguars of IUPUI went 6-10-2 a season ago and return four starters from last season, including 2012 Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year Eduardo Cortes. Head coach Isang Jacob is beginning his third season in charge of the Jaguars.
In addition to the exhibition match against IUPUI, Saturday will also mark NIU’s annual men’s soccer alumni day. Alumni festivities will begin at noon with a greeting from Coach Luzzi at the Yordon Center, followed by the alumni game at 1 p.m.
Saturday’s exhibition will be the first of two preseason contests for NIU. The Huskies will travel to Chicago to meet UIC in an exhibition next Saturday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., before opening the regular season on Friday, Aug. 30, against Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio.
The Last Meeting
August 29, 2008
Hoyos Scores Twice in Win Over IUPUI
Northern Illinois Head Men's Soccer Coach Steve Simmons wanted his team to start the season on the right foot. Juan Hoyos obliged the sixth-year coach with a goal just 34 seconds into the 2008 season.