NIU Opens 2013 Campaign at Wolstein Classic

GO HUSKIES Senior James Stevenson
GO HUSKIES
Senior James Stevenson
GO HUSKIES

Aug 29, 2013

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Northern Illinois vs. Cincinnati
Date: Friday, August 30, 2013
Time: 4 p.m. CT
Location: Jesse Owens Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Live Stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores

Northern Illinois at Ohio State
Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013
Time: 1:30 p.m. CT
Location: Jesse Owens Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Live Video: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Live Stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores

The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team begins the 2013 regular season on Friday, Aug. 30, when the Huskies take on Cincinnati in the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Game time between the Huskies and Bearcats is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT. 

Under fifth-year head coach Eric Luzzi, NIU returns six starters and 80 percent of its goal scoring from 2012 while also welcoming 11 newcomers to this season’s squad. The Huskies went 1-0-1 during the preseason, playing to a scoreless draw against IUPUI before defeating UIC, 2-0. Earlier this week, Northern Illinois was picked to finish third in the Mid-American Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

About Cincinnati
The Bearcats posted a 6-9-4 overall record last season, 3-3-2 in the Big East, and have moved into the new American Athletic Conference this season. Cincinnati is led by sophomore defender Richardo Israel, a preseason all-conference honoree. The Bearcats lost both of their preseason exhibitions, falling to Michigan, 2-0, and Bowling Green, 4-2.

About Ohio State
The Buckeyes posted a 6-10-3 record a season ago, 0-4-2 in Big Ten play and 5-4-2 at home in Columbus. Ohio State returns 11 letterwinners, including four starters, from last season’s squad under head coach John Bluem, who is in his 17th season as head coach of the Scarlet and Grey. Ohio State played a trio of preseason matches, defeating IPFW, 2-0, while falling to West Virginia, 1-0, and Notre Dame, 1-0.

Coach Luzzi On the Weekend
“It’s early; everyone has only played preseason games so it’s hard to get information on (your opponents). We don’t know that much about either of them, which is okay, I think it is fine at this part of the season to be mainly focused on our team because we are going to have to play very well this weekend if we want to get results. Regardless of what Cincinnati or Ohio State throw at us, the responsibility is on us to have two good performances to give ourselves the best chance to get a couple of results.”

Huskies Tabbed Third in MAC Preseason Poll
Northern Illinois was picked to finish third in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Akron was selected as the favorite in the conference, followed by 2) West Virginia, 3) NIU, 4) Bowling Green, 5) Buffalo, 6) Western Michigan and 7) Hartwick.

Season Openers Under Luzzi
Friday’s contest against Cincinnati will open NIU’s fifth season under head coach Eric Luzzi. In his first four seasons, Luzzi is 1-2-1 in season openers with the lone victory coming in 2011 at Saint Louis. NIU has faced ranked opponents in the season opener in two of the last four years, including a trip to third-ranked Creighton last season.
Sept. 1, 2009 - Bradley (L, 2-1)
Sept. 3, 2010 - at No. 19 Portland (T, 0-0)
Aug. 27, 2011 - at Saint Louis (W, 2-1)
Aug. 24, 2012 - at No. 3 Creighton (L, 3-1)

Exhibition Recap
Northern Illinois went 1-0-1 in its two exhibition contests. The Huskies hit the post twice and had a penalty saved but drew with IUPUI, 0-0, on Aug. 17. NIU then defeated UIC, 2-0, on Aug. 24 behind goals from Isaac Kannah and Bertrand Gaschot.

Challenging Slate
As has been customary under Eric Luzzi, Northern Illinois has put together another challenging schedule in 2013. Three Huskie opponents are ranked in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason Poll (No. 8 Akron, No. 15 Saint Louis and No. 18 Northwestern) while a fourth, Fairleigh Dickinson, is the first team receiving votes outside the top 25.

New Kids On the Block
With just 12 returnees on the 2013 roster, the Huskies have turned over nearly half the roster as 11 newcomers help make up the 23-man squad. NIU’s 11 newcomers hail from: England (3), Illinois (2), Missouri (2), Florida, Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin.

New Faces on the Bench
In addition to the newcomers on the field, NIU also has two new members on its coaching staff as assistant coach Mark Jones and volunteer assistant Ross Brady each begin their first season at NIU. The lone returnee among NIU’s assistant coaches is Garrett Biller, he is in his fifth season at NIU.

Conference Changes
The Mid-American Conference has gone from eight men’s soccer members to seven as Florida Atlantic moved to Conference USA for the 2013 season. The league will continue to play a single round-robin in the regular season with four teams advancing to the conference tournament to be hosted by the regular season champion.

Up Next
NIU will join Friday’s opponent Cincinnati at its tournament, the Cincinnati Bearcat Soccer Classic, next weekend. The Huskies will face Evansville on Friday, Sept. 6, and No. 15 Saint Louis on Sunday, Sept. 8.


 

 

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