Huskies Travel to Meet Creighton in NCAA Second Round



Nov. 19, 2011

2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket

DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team continues its 2011 NCAA Tournament journey on Sunday, Nov. 20, when it travels to meet No. 2 seed Creighton in the Round of 32. The Huskies and Blue Jays will square off at 1 p.m. at Morrison Stadium in Omaha, Neb.

Following the Creighton match
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About Creighton
The Blue Jays enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 overall seed, with a record of 18-2-0, the most wins in the nation. Creighton is the nation’s best defensive team, having posted 16 shutouts in its 20 matches this season. The Blue Jays were the Missouri Valley Conference regular season co-champions and tournament champions. Ethan Finlay has 11 goals and six assists to lead Creighton offensively, Brian Holt has started all 20 matches in goal and has a 0.20 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.

Luzzi on the Creighton Match
“Our guys are excited to still be playing. There are 170 teams that would love to be presented with the opportunity that we have, to still be playing this weekend. We are excited for the challenge; obviously Creighton is one of the best teams in the country. I think for us, I’m excited to play a game as the underdog. It has been a while since our guys have been the underdog. We spent my first four years here almost always as the underdog and we had a lot of success with that.

“There is really no pressure on us moving forward, anything from this point is a bit of a bonus. If anything, the pressure is on Creighton because I’m sure, in their minds, they have a legitimate chance to get to the College Cup, and they have that caliber of a team.”

A Look in the Mirror
The matchup between NIU and Creighton pits two teams that have very similar defensive numbers, both ranking among the nation’s best. Creighton ranks first in the nation in team goals against average (0.20), shutout percentage (80 percent) and save percentage (.932). NIU is in the top-20 nationally in each of those categories, ranking 10th in team goals against average (0.62), seventh in shutout percentage (58 percent) and 20th in save percentage (.826).

NIU Makes Third NCAA Tournament Appearance
Northern Illinois will be making its third appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies previously made the field in 1973 and 2006. In their first appearance in 1973, NIU fell at SIU Edwardsville in its tournament opener, 3-0. During the 2006 tournament, NIU hosted Loyola (Ill.) in the first round, defeating the Ramblers 1-0 in overtime. In the second round, the Huskies lost 1-0 at Indiana.  

Huskies Tie School Wins Mark
With its 3-0 NCAA First Round win over Western Illinois, the NIU men’s soccer team has tied the mark for the most wins in program history with 15. NIU’s other 15-win season came in 2006, also the only other time the Huskies reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Current head coach Eric Luzzi was an assistant coach with that 2006 club. NIU has reached double-digit wins in six of the last eight seasons.

Godsey Sets School Shutouts Record
With his clean sheet against Western Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jordan Godsey posted his 12th shutout of the season, setting a new school record. Godsey’s mark betters the 11 recorded by Markus Roy in 1989 and Joe Zimka in 2006.

Huskies Claim Second MAC Tournament Title
NIU won it second Mid-American Conference Tournament championship with a 1-0 victory over Western Michigan in the title game. Sean Totsch scored the lone goal in the 84th minute to give the Huskies the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. NIU’s previous MAC Tournament championship came in 2006.

Totsch is Clutch
Sean Totsch entered the final weekend of the regular season having never scored a collegiate goal. Now, the Oswego, Ill., native has three goals in his last four games, including game-winners in the MAC Tournament final and the NCAA Tournament First Round. Totsch netted his first goal in the 2-1 regular season finale victory over Hartwick (Nov. 5). He then scored the lone goal in the MAC Final, lifting NIU to a win over Western Michigan, and he got the Huskies off the mark with a 20th minute goal in the NCAA First Round against Western Illinois.

Youth Will Be Served
Led by six goals from sophomore James Stevenson, four goals from sophomore Gael Rivera and three from freshman Paul Hogan and sophomore Sean Totsch, the NIU men's soccer team has seen its young players lead the way offensively. In total, 23 of the 29 goals scored by the Huskies this season have come from freshmen and sophomores.

Five Huskies Earn All-MAC Honors
Just prior to the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the league office announced this season’s award winners. NIU had five players named to the all-conference team, the most for the school since 2006. Francis Otira, Jordan Godsey and James Stevenson were named to the All-MAC First Team while Karim Darbaki and Isaac Kannah were recognized as All-MAC Second Team performers.

Four Named to MAC All-Tournament Team
After defeating Western Michigan in the championship game and Buffalo in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament, four Huskies were named to the All-Tournament Team. Gael Rivera, Francis Otira, Sean Totsch and Jordan Godsey were each named to the 11-man all-tournament squad.

All He Scores Are Game Winners
Senior Pat Sloan registered NIU's first goal in a 3-0 victory over Bowling Green, his fourth goal of the season. Along with his game winning goals against Oakland, Michigan and Western Michigan earlier this season, all four of Sloan's markers have turned out to be game winners.

Hunting Goose Eggs
Entering this week, NIU ranked seventh in the nation in shutout percentage, holding its opponents scoreless in 58 percent of matches this season. Creighton leads the country, shutting out its foes in 80 percent of matches on the year. The rest of the top-10 includes: 2) Connecticut (68 percent), 3) St. Francis (PA) and Lehigh (61 percent), 5) Monmouth (60 percent), 6) Brown (59 percent), 7) NIU and Appalachian state (58 percent), 9) Lafayette (56 percent), 10) Valparaiso, New Mexico, Akron and Louisville (55 percent).

Godsey Among Nation's Best
Jordan Godsey ranks among the nation's best goalkeepers in goals against average. Godsey is currently 12th in the national rankings with a 0.617 GAA. Godsey posted his 12th shutout of the season in the 1-0 MAC Championship win over Western Michigan. Godsey also ranks 20th in the nation in save percentage at 0.824.

The Luzzi File
Northern Illinois head coach Eric Luzzi is in his third season as the head coach for the Huskies. Luzzi has a record of 34-19-3 at the helm of NIU. The Huskies' head man spent three seasons as an assistant at NIU before taking becoming the head coach. In his first season at NIU, Luzzi helped the program win the MAC Championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Last Time Out
Sean Totsch, Isaac Kannah and Mike Mascitti each found the back of the net at NIU cruised past Western Illinois, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Totsch opened the scoring in the 20th minute before Kannah tallied in the 43rd and Mascitti finished off the scoring in the 73rd, Jordan Godsey made one save en route to the shutout in goal.

Mascitti Makes 11
Mike Mascitti became the 11th different goal scorer for NIU this season with his 73rd minute marker against Western Illinois in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In addition, 15 different NIU players have recorded at least one point this season for the Huskies.

All-Tournament Team at Northwestern
Francis Otira and Gael Rivera were named to the Northwestern Lakeside Classic All-Tournament team last weekend. Rivera scored both of NIU's goals in the tournament. For Otira, the accolade marked his third-straight all-tournament team honor.

Otira Claims Honors
On Sept. 12, Francis Otira earned both College Soccer News National Team of the Week and Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors for his performance at the NIU/adidas Invitational. It marked the second consecutive week a Huskie claimed both awards.

Four Huskies Named to NIU/adidas All-Tournament Team
Francis Otira earned Most Valuable Player recognition and Jordan Godsey, Karim Darbaki and freshman Isaac Kannah were named to the All-Tournament team at the NIU/adidas Invitational. Godsey recorded clean sheets in both games, Darbaki scored a pair of goals and Kannah registered a goal and an assist.

Sloan's Game Winners Earn Weekly Accolades
Pat Sloan was named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week following his performance in the Michigan Invitational. Sloan netted the game-winning goal against both Oakland and Michigan to help the Huskies win the Michigan Invitational. The two goals were the first of Sloan's NIU career.

Four Huskies Earn All-Tournament Honors at Michigan
En route to winning the Michigan Invitational, four Huskies, Pat Sloan, Francis Otira and Brad Horton, along with goalkeeper Jordan Godsey, were named to the Michigan Invitational All-Tournament Team.



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