Huskie Men's Soccer Rebounds With Critical 1-0 MAC Shutout of No. 20-Rated Buffalo Bulls



October 23, 2005

Huske Men's Soccer Rebounds With Critical 1-0 MAC Shutout of No. 20-Rated Buffalo Bulls

DeKalb, IL — Playing a third straight Top 25-rated
squad, the Northern Illinois University men’s soccer
squad rebounded Sunday with a hard-fought 1-0
Mid-American Conference victory over No. 20-rated
University at Buffalo.

In addition to averting a third straight loss, the
Huskies gave their seniors an extra special memory for
their home finale as NIU locked up the second of two
first-round byes for the MAC Postseason Tournament by
improving to 3-1-0 in league play and 10-4-2 overall.

Buffalo dips to 12-3-1 overall and finishes 2-2-1 in
MAC play as does Western Michigan University, which
was a 2-0 loser Sunday to nationally No. 1-rated
University of Akron. UA’s Zips captured the MAC
regular-season title with a 5-0-0 league record for
the No. 1 seed and other bye along with No. 2 seed
NIU, which still has a conference date left against
new affiliate member Indiana University-Purdue
University at Fort Wayne (IPFW).

“I thought this was an unbelievable response by our
team after such a tough loss on Friday,” Huskie head
coach Steve Simmons insisted, referring to NIU’s 5-1
thumping at top-ranked Akron. “Having been beaten like
that and having to turn around and face another top 20
team, it could’ve been easy to tank this one. But we
came up with a great effort, and I think it’s a
heckuva a way to send off our seniors.”

Northern Illinois, which had earlier been the third
MAC team to appear in a Top 25 men’s soccer poll this
season, came out battling the No. 20 Bulls from the
start as the Huskies had a shot off the post in the
opening half. But it took an extra 2:17 into the
second half for the scoreless tie to be broken as
Chris Rufa (Downers Grove / South) headed home Bryan
Abdallah’s (Aurora / Waubonsie Valley) assist.

“That was a solid goal and being a top 20 team,
Buffalo pushed us to the very end, but we were playing
with focus and determination,” Simmons added. “I
really have to credit all the seniors. I thought
Brendon Parrish (Rockford / Auburn) had a tremendous
game. Steve Goletz (Downers Grove / South) got
another shutout; Eric O’Reilly (Geneva) was a tiger
out there and Paul Gabel (Dunoon, Scotland / Dunoon
Academy) gave us great leadership, particularly in the
second half.”

Parrish, Goletz, O’Reilly, Gabel and Chris Brown
(Mesa, AZ / Highland) were all honored in pre-game
ceremonies. For Goletz, Sunday’s contest marked his
16th career shutout in net.

Northern Illinois, which dipped to fifth in the last
Midwest Regional, hits the road for a Wednesday 7 p.m.
contest at Bradley University, the No. 6-rated squad
in the same regional poll. Then a week later on Nov.
2, the Huskies complete the regular-season and MAC
slate with a 6 p.m. visit to the Mastadons from IPFW.

(For further information, please contact Steve Nemeth) —NIU—



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