Huskies Travel to Akron for MAC Tournament

GO HUSKIES Sean Totsch scored the game-winning goal in last season's MAC Tournament Final
Sean Totsch scored the game-winning goal in last season's MAC Tournament Final

Nov. 8, 2012

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Northern Illinois (6-9-3) vs. West Virginia (9-5-2)
2012 Mid-American Conferene Tournament Semifinals
Date: Friday, November 9, 2012
Time: 3 p.m. CT
Location: First Energy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field, Akron, Ohio
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Twitter Updates: @NIUscores

About West Virginia
The Mountaineers enter their first Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 9-5-2 overall record, 4-2-1 in conference play. NIU and West Virginia finished with identical conference records but the Huskies earned the tiebreaker after winning the head-to-head meeting between the two schools. Offensively, West Virginia is led by Eric Schoenle, he has six goals and 12 points.

Pat Eavensen has seen the majority of the time in goal for the Mountaineers, starting 14 matches with a 0.93 goals against average and four complete shutouts.  

The First Meeting
Northern Illinois won the first meeting of the season against West Virginia, 1-0, in DeKalb on Oct. 27. Isaac Kannah scored the lone goal of the contest in the 84th minute, Matt Pritchard and Miles Stockman-Willis assisted on Kannah’s tally. Jordan Godsey made seven saves between the posts for the Huskies.

About Akron
The Zips enter this weekend’s MAC Tournament with a 12-game winning streak and as the top-ranked team in the nation. Akron has a 15-1-2 record, 7-0-0 in the MAC, its lone loss of the season came against Notre Dame (Sept. 9). Scott Caldwell leads the Zips in scoring with nine goals and six assists (24 points). David Meves has played all 18 matches in goal for the Zips; he has a 0.33 goals against average and 14 shutouts on the season. Meves is the NCAA career leader in shutous with 51.

Akron earned a 2-0 victory over NIU earlier this season in DeKalb (Oct. 13). Phil Fives scored in the second minute and Reinaldo Brenes added an insurance goal in the 85th minute.

About Bowling Green
Fourth-seeded Bowling Green enters this weekend’s tournament with an 8-8-3 record, 3-3-1 in conference play. Anthony Grant leads the Falcons in scoring with eight goals and four assists. Michael Wiest has played all 19 matches in goal for Bowling Green. Wiest has a 1.06 goals against average and seven shutouts.

NIU and Bowling Green played to a scoreless draw earlier this season in DeKalb (Oct. 20). Wiest made eight saves for the Falcons in the contest while Jordan Godsey recorded four saves for the Huskies.

Defending Champions
NIU enters this weekend as the defending MAC Tournament champion. The Huskies claimed the 2011 title with a pair of 1-0 victories over Buffalo and Western Michigan. Seeded second, NIU beat Buffalo thanks to a 63rd minute goal by Gael Rivera. The Huskies then defeated Western Michigan, 1-0, courtesy of an 84th minute tally by Sean Totsch.

MAC Tournament History
Northern Illinois has a 9-11-1 record all-time in 14 MAC Tournament appearances. The Huskies have won the title twice, 2006 and 2011, and played in the championship game on two other occasions, 1999 and 2008. NIU’s lone tie in the conference tournament came in 2002, a 1-1 draw with Marshall, the Thundering Herd advanced on penalty kicks.

The Huskies are the only school in the MAC other than Akron to win the conference tournament since 2003 when Western Michigan claimed the crown.

Darbaki Seals a Tournament Bid
Karim Darbaki scored his first goal of the season last time out in NIU’s 1-0 victory at Buffalo (Nov. 2). Darbaki’s third career tally earned the Huskies the road win and clinched NIU’s spot in this weekend’s MAC Tournament.

Godsey Extends Shutout Record
With his shutout against Rhode Island on Sept. 7, Jordan Godsey set a new NIU school record with his 27th career shutout, breaking a mark held by Markus Roy (1988-91). Godsey’s shutout last Friday against Buffalo (Nov. 2) puts his career total at 34. Last season, Godsey set the NIU single-season shutout record with 12 clean sheets and also posted a 0.70 goals against average, the second-best single-season mark in program history.

Godsey enters Friday’s match with a 0.79 career goals against average, the best mark in school history. Bettering Joe Zimka’s (2005-08) 0.91 career mark.  

Climbing the National List
Jordan Godsey’s shutout against Buffalo (Nov. 2) gave him 34 clean sheets in his collegiate career, the 13th-most in NCAA history. Godsey’s 32nd shutout broke a tie for 14th with current New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara (Fordham, 2008-11). The NCAA record for career shutouts is 51, held by current Akron goalkeeper David Meves.

Another Winner for Kannah
Isaac Kannah scored game-winning goal against West Virginia (Oct. 27) in the 84th minute, his second goal of the season. Kannah’s first tally was also a game-winner in conference play as he scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory at Florida Atlantic (Sept. 30). Kannah has three game-winning goals in his NIU career, he also got the winner last season in a 1-0 victory against Valparaiso (Sept. 9, 2011).

Oliver’s First is Golden
Freshman Charlie Oliver scored his first collegiate goal against Northwestern (Oct. 24). Not only was the tally the first of his career, it was also an overtime game-winner. Oliver’s goal just 45 seconds into overtime broke a 0-0 deadlock and gave the Huskies their second win in three seasons against the Wildcats.

Pritchard Gets His First
Freshman Matt Pritchard scored the first goal of his collegiate career against Valparaiso (Oct. 17). Pritchard’s goal came in his ninth appearance for the Huskies. In addition to the goal, Pritchard has three assists this season and is currently tied for third on the team in points.

Rivera Leads With Four
Gael Rivera scored his team-best fourth goal of the season to lead the Huskies to a 1-0 victory over Hartwick (Oct. 6). Rivera found the net in the 68th minute to help NIU to its second conference win of the season. Rivera currently has nine points to lead the Huskies in scoring, breaking a tie with James Stevenson at eight points with an assist against Buffalo (Nov. 2).

Stevenson Leads the Line
James Stevenson scored his third goal of the season when he tallied in the 67th minute of a 2-0 victory over Florida Atlantic (Sept. 30). Stevenson’s marker against the Owls was the 12th of his NIU career. Stevenson also recorded an assist on Isaac Kannah’s opening goal against FAU. The Falkirk, Scotland native is currently second on the team with eight points (three goals, two assists).

Scoring Duo Earn All-Tournament Honors at New Mexico
Gael Rivera and James Stevenson, NIU’s goalscorers, earned All-Tournament recognition at the Nike Lobo Invitational. For Rivera, the honor was his second of the season; he was also named to the NIU adidas Invitational All-Tournament Team.

Huskie Duo Honored at Northwestern
Charlie Oliver and Pat Sloan were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic. It was the second-straight week in which Oliver earned a tournament recognition, the freshman was also recognized on the All-Tournament Team at the NIU adidas Invitational. The honor was Sloan’s second all-tournament selection of his career; he also earned All-Tournament honors last season at the Michigan Invitational.        

Three Named to NIU adidas Invitational All-Tournament Team
With a pair of ties against Rhode Island and Drake, the Huskies took second-place in their home tournament. Gael Rivera, Jayson LeSeth and Charlie Oliver were named to the All-Tournament team. This was the third all-tournament honor for Rivera in his NIU career, he was also named to the all-tournament team at the 2011 MAC Tournament and the 2011 Northwestern Lakeside Classic, and it is the first all-tournament team honor for both LeSeth and Oliver.

Huskies Tabbed Third in MAC
Northern Illinois was picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll released Aug. 13. Akron was picked to win the conference while league newcomer West Virginia was tabbed to finish second behind the Zips.

50 Seasons of Huskie Soccer
This season, Northern Illinois is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its inaugural season. NIU played its first varsity soccer match on October 5, 1962, a 6-0 loss at Grinnell College.

A Challenging Slate
The 2012 schedule for NIU has featured four games against foes currently ranked in the NSCAA Top 25. The Huskies have played No. 1 Akron, No. 9 New Mexico, No. 10 Marquette and No. 12 Creighton, in addition to Northwestern, who is also receiving votes.  

The Luzzi File
Eric Luzzi is in his fourth season as the head coach at Northern Illinois. Luzzi has compiled a 40-29-6 record at the helm of the Huskies. Luzzi spent three seasons as an assistant at NIU before taking over the program in 2009. On May 24, NIU announced that Luzzi had signed a contract extension through the 2015 season.



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