Sept. 12, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team opens its home schedule against UMKC, Friday at 4:30 p.m, then takes on Butler, Sunday at 2:30 p.m at the NIU-adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational.
Northern Illinois returns home after recording a 0-1-1 record at the Mike Berticelli Invitational, where the Huskies fell 0-1 to No. 4 Indiana, then tied No. 9 Notre Dame 1-1.
"There's major excitement on the team right now about this weekend," Simmons said. "It has been a tremendous experience for our kids lately to play at home."
With a 10-match home-winning streak going back to Oct. 23, 2005, the Huskies have reason to be excited to play in DeKalb.
The Huskies (1-1-2) hold a 2-0 record against UMKC all-time, last defeating the Kangaroos 3-0 in 2004 as part of a six-match winning streak.
Northern Illinois, ranked 29th in the nation by College Soccer News, is led by forward Marcus McCarty (Fort Worth, Texas/Fossil Ridge), who's three points through four matches tie for second in the Mid-American Conference. While McCarty leads the team in points, the Huskie offense has been varied, with three other players who have accounted for goals.
To vie for success this weekend, the Huskies will have to deal with UMKC's Garret Guthrie, the Summit League Player of the Week. Guthrie notched the game-winning goal in the Kangaroos' 3-1 win over Loyola-Chicago, and has helped UMKC to a 3-1-0 record this season.
"(The Kangaroos) beat Loyola 3-1, and that was the team we battled with to overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament," Simmons said.
Northern Illinois' Sunday opponent, the Bulldogs, are yet to suffer a loss in 2007, with a 2-0-2 record. Butler's explosive offense has already put up 10 goals, placing them tied for fourth in the nation in goals per game.
"Butler has some good attacking pieces, and an exceptional coach in Kelly Findley," Simmons said.
In addition to NIU's matches, soccer fans can catch two other contests at the Huskie Soccer Field this weekend. Northwestern, the No. 10 team in the nation, takes on Butler, Friday at 2 p.m., then faces UMKC, Sunday at noon.
Admission to the NIU-adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational is free, and all matches are held at the Huskie Soccer Field, just west of Huskie Stadium.