Sept. 27, 2013
Game Notes in PDF
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (3-5-0) at MICHIGAN STATE (4-1-1)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013
Time: 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET)
Location: DeMartin Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
Live Stats: MSUSpartans.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
About Michigan State
The Spartans enter Saturday’s contest with a 4-1-1 record and are coming off a 2-2 draw with third-ranked Creighton on Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb. Michigan State, the defending Big Ten Tournament champions, are led by Tim Kreutz who has three goals and seven points on the season. In goal, Zach Bennett has played all six matches for the Spartans, allowing just four goals while making 21 saves.
Coach Luzzi on the Spartans
“It’s another very challenging opponent for our guys. It has been good to have a full week of training to get ready for just one game. In talking to our guys, they all embrace playing very difficult teams and see the value in playing the challenging schedule we have played.
“Michigan State is just the next team in a line of very difficult opponents. They are well-organized, well-coached, and they do a very good job of balancing a team that can play soccer with a blue-collar mentality. That is the kind of team that we try to be and that is a very good recipe for success in college soccer. It will be a difficult opponent, a great environment and we are certainly going to have to do a lot of things well to get a result.”
Double Tally Makes 15
James Stevenson scored a pair of goals last Sunday in NIU’s 2-1 victory over Saint Mary’s (Sept. 22). The two goals helped Stevenson earn all-tournament honors at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic and increased his career goal total to 15, the most of any current Huskie.
Kannah Hits a Career-High
Isaac Kannah scored last Friday (Sept. 20) in NIU’s 2-1 defeat to Fairleigh Dickinson, helping earn the Plymouth, Minn., native all-tournament honors at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic. Kannah’s goal was his third of the season marking a new career-high for goals in a year. Kannah had previously scored two goals in both 2011 and 2012.
Another Big Ten Foe
The Spartans will be the second of three Big Ten opponents NIU will face this season. The Huskies dropped a 2-0 decision on the opening weekend of the season at Ohio State (Sept. 1) and still have a trip to Northwestern upcoming on the schedule (Oct. 9). NIU has defeated at least one Big Ten opponent in each of the last four seasons. (2009: Wisconsin, 2010: Northwestern and Wisconsin, 2011: Michigan, 2012: Northwestern).
On the Road Again
NIU’s trip to East Lansing begins a four-game road trip which won’t return the Huskies to DeKalb until Oct. 22. Following the contest at Michigan State, the Huskies will visit West Virginia (Oct. 5), Northwestern (Oct. 9) and Bowling Green (Oct. 12). Including two neutral site games in Evanston, Ill., last weekend, NIU is in the midst of a season-long six-game stretch away from home.
No Quick Turnaround
For the first time this season, NIU will not be playing two games within 48 hours. On each of the first four weekends of the season, the Huskies played a match on Friday, followed by a Sunday match less than 48 hours later. Beginning with this weekend, NIU will not face a 48-hour turnaround again until the conference tournament.
Northern Illinois will open conference play on Saturday, Oct. 5, as the Huskies travel to Morgantown, W. Va., to face West Virginia. Kickoff against the Mountaineers is slated for 5 p.m. CT.