Men’s soccer falters in homecoming contest

By Roland Hacker

The men’s soccer team lost its third consecutive game and second consecutive overtime game Saturday as the Bowling Green State University Falcons ruined the Huskies’ homecoming game 2-1.

“I thought Bowling Green came in with a very good game plan and executed it,” Head Coach Ryan Swan said. “We had a hard time breaking them down. I thought this was one of our poorer performances of the year, but I think that was based on the way [Bowling Green] played. They did a good job of making things difficult.”

The game finished in minute-97, the seventh minute of overtime, with a goal from Bowling Green’s junior midfielder Charlie Maciejewski.

The tightly contested affair was played on a brisk 44 degree night. All statistical categories of each team were within two of each other; BGSU outshot NIU 16-14, 6-4 on net and had an advantage in corner kicks 5-3. The teams were even in fouls, 13 apiece.

“[Bowling Green] came in and made us play the way they wanted us to,” Swan said. “They knocked us out of our rhythm, and we played into their hands. They got their game plan right and, obviously, I did not.”

Bowling Green drew first blood, scoring in minute-56 with a goal from senior defender Ebenezer Ackon’s header.

NIU answered two minutes later; junior forward Jan Maertins scored off a highlight reel feed from first year defender Diego Sanz.

“[Maertins] found [Sanz], who played a great service in for a very nice goal,” Swan said. “I thought [Maertins] did a great job to get in on the end of it.”

Following the Maertins’ goal, a boisterous group of NIU men’s soccer alumni sitting directly behind Bowling Green’s goal serenaded the Falcons’ goalkeeper with lyrics such as, “you’re the worst goalie in the world.”

Falcons’ senior midfielder Peter Pugliese was sent off in minute-81; he received a red card as a result of receiving his second yellow card of the match for cursing at an official.

“I’m not going to let some kid cuss me out,” an official was overheard saying after the match.

The Huskies won’t have to wait long for their chance to rebound; they play the Drake University Bulldogs 7 p.m. Tuesday at the NIU Soccer and Track and Field Complex.

“[We’re] very frustrated to lose another overtime game,” Swan said. “Now, it’s important to turn things around and get a good result against Drake. Perhaps, this is a good thing for us. Success isn’t coming as easy as it was for us earlier in the year. I think the guys need to realize they need to dig in a bit more and work for each other.”