AKRON 4, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 2
2-0-0 in the MAC
NIU now 2-11-0,
0-2-0 in the MAC
UA --- Chris Gnandt (Will Kletzien assist), 4:02 Gone, 1st Half.
UA --- Kirk Harwat (C. Gnandt, K. Veris assts), 10:40 Gone, 1st Half.
UA --- Ross McKenzie (Pat Beattie assist), , 19:29 Gone, 1st Half.
UA --- Chris Gnandt (Will Kletzien assist), 22:01 Gone, 1st Half.
NIU --- Peter Agrimson (Unassisted), 27:23 Gone, 1st Half.
NIU --- Rasih Pala (Jon Davit assist), 63:56 Gone, 2nd Half.
SLUGGISH START DOOMS HUSKIE MEN AS AKRON SCORES FOUR EARLY GOALS IN
4-2 MAC VICTORY
IL---On paper, Sunday's (Oct. 13) match figured to be a defensive struggle
with two low-scoring teams. The Northern Illinois University men's soccer
team was late getting on track, allowing the University of Akron to shed
its offensive woes for a 4-2 victory.
had scored just ten goals in its first ten matches of the season, but
the Zips' assault tallied four strikes in the first 22:01 to improve to
3-6-2 overall and 2-0-0 in the Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois
dropped its sixth in a row, falling to 2-11-0 on the season with an 0-2-0
mark in the league.
Gnandt started the barrage with a 20-yarder into the lower corner of the
net just 4:02 into the contest. Gnandt steered a shot around the wall
and past Huskie goalkeeper Steve Goletz (Downers Grove / South) for a
1-0 lead. Kirk Harwat made it 2-0 at the 10:40 mark, emerging from a goal-mouth
scramble for a four-yard strike after Goletz stopped Gnandt's initial
margin swelled to 4-0 as Akron scored two goals 1:32 apart, with Ross
McKenzie re-directing a Pat Beattie drive into the net at 19:29 and Gnandt
duplicating his first goal at the 22:01 mark. Both of Gnandt's tallies
came from free kick opportunities at the top of the penalty area, with
Will Kletzien touching the ball to Gnandt.
of their goals came off dead balls," NIU assistant coach Karsten
Roy observed. "We were sleeping defensively. It was like we didn't
want to win the ball. We just didn't play very smart soccer in the first
half. The guys tried hard but they need to be smarter and make better
passes, and stay focused the whole 90 minutes."
Illinois cut info the margin, with Peter Agrimson (Stillwater, MN) converting
a penalty kick opportunity at the 27:23 mark. NIU still trailed 4-1 at
intermission before Rasih Pala (Markham, Ontario / Markham District) tallied
his first career goal with an eight-yard header of Jon Davit's corner
kick at the 63:56 mark. Pala---playing midfield after three-plus seasons
as the Huskie goalkeeper---trimmed the gap to 4-2 but NIU could get no
closer despite missed several missed scoring chances in the next few minutes.
came out a lot better in the second half," Roy noted. "Rasih
had a very nice ball, going up for the header. We also had a couple of
other chances, with Eric O'Reilly hitting the crossbar and Jon Davit missing
an open net. If we could have hit one of those, we'd have had (Akron)
on their heels. But we need to focus on our marking and play better defensively."
shot drew iron shortly after Pala's strike and Davit had UA netminder
Dan Pinho on the ground but lifted a shot over the crossbar with 18 minutes
left. The Zips recovered on defense and preserved the two-goal margin.
Huskies face a difficult schedule this week, traveling to the University
at Buffalo for a Friday (Oct. 18) contest. NIU has little time to recover
from that 7 p.m. match before returning home to meet Western Michigan
University next Sunday (Oct. 20) for a high-noon showdown.
--- Copy by Robert Hester