Oct. 23, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's soccer team will face its fourth ranked opponent of the season Wednesday at 3 p.m., when the team hosts No. 9 Northwestern at Huskie Soccer Field.
The Wildcats (9-2-2, 2-2-1 Big Ten) have lost to only No. 13 Indiana and Penn State and have beaten teams by three goals or more five times.
"Northwestern is one of the better teams that we'll face," NIU head coach Steve Simmons said. "They've been dominating teams on both ends, but as always, we look forward to the challenge."
Two of those victories came in DeKalb, when the Wildcats beat Butler and UMKC by 3-0 margins at the NIU-adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational in September.
"They impressed me a great deal when I saw them play here," Simmons said. "UMKC and Butler are two solid teams, and Northwestern controlled them both."
The Huskies (4-6-4, 1-1-1 Mid-American Conference) have played a season of close matches, with five losses by just one goal to go along with four ties.
"That's the nature of the game," Simmons said. "We feel like we've outplayed some teams and ended up on the wrong end when the match was over."
NIU leading-scorers Marcus McCarty (Fort Worth, Texas/Fossil Ridge) and Chris Johnson (Colorado Springs, Colo./Yavapai C.C.) will try to boost their scoring output to help support a Huskie defense that's allowing just over a goal per match.
"We need to finish our chances when we get them," Simmons said. "We're getting quality opportunities and just not putting the ball away."
After the match against the Wildcats, Northern Illinois' schedule features conference games at Hartwick and Bowling Green, and the regular season finale against UW-Milwaukee in DeKalb, Nov. 6.