Oct. 15, 2010
DeKALB - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team will look to carry the momentum of its win at Northwestern into Mid-American Conference play, as the Huskies return to league action at Florida Atlantic, Saturday at 6 p.m. (CST).
The match is the first of four straight MAC games for NIU that will determine the Huskies' postseason path. Currently, despite a 6-4-2 overall record, Northern Illinois is 0-2-0 in the MAC. The game at FAU will start a sprint for seeding in the four-team Mid-American Conference Tournament.
"Right now we are focused on Florida Atlantic," NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. "This is a critical game for us to get on track in conference play."
Though the Huskies' conference season has gotten off to an inauspicious start, the team has played well overall lately, with wins at Wisconsin and Northwestern, and a record of 6-2-1 in its last nine contests.
"We've done some really good things over the last few weeks," Luzzi said. "We need to clean up some issues, but overall we've been finding ways to get results, and ultimately that is what they game is about."
Defense continues to be a strong point for Northern Illinois. The Huskies have allowed just seven goals in 12 matches this season, and have recorded six shutouts.
While NIU is hungry for a MAC win, Florida Atlantic is famished for any victory. The Owls haven't put a "W" on the board since Sept. 22, when they defeated North Florida, 2-1. FAU has a signature 2-1 victory over Wisconsin this season, but is 2-6-2 overall and has been outscored by its opponents 19-6.
"They proved with the win against Wisconsin that they are a dangerous team," Luzzi said of FAU. "You can be certain they have our full attention this weekend."
The Huskies will now look to finish strong with a road-heavy schedule over its last five regular season games. After facing FAU, Northern Illinois has road games at Buffalo and Western Michigan before returning home to face Bowling Green, Oct. 30 for Senior Day. The Huskies conclude the regular season with the Lewang Cup, the annual battle between NIU and Milwaukee.