Men’s soccer falls to Western Michigan on the road

By Roland Hacker

The men’s soccer team’s struggles on the road continued as it fell to the Western Michigan University Broncos Saturday, 2-1.

The Huskies’ final road game of the regular season dropped them to 3-6 on the road and 1-3 in the conference.

“I thought we played OK today, but we gave up two very sloppy goals,” Head Coach Ryan Swan said. “Western Michigan is a very well organized team. We had a hard time breaking them down after they [took back] the lead. It’s a frustrating day, and it’s tough to drop another conference game. There’s signs of promise, but we have to stop conceding these [type] of goals.”

All scoring occurred in the first 18 minutes of the game. Western Michigan opened the scoring in minute-14 as junior forward Anthony Bowie stripped an NIU defender and was rewarded with a breakaway that resulted in his second goal of the season.

Senior midfielder Kevin Rodriguez helped the Huskies answer three minutes later with his second goal of the season. Rodriguez’s goal was set up by junior midfielder Irvin Dominguez.

The Broncos stole back the momentum one minute later in minute-18 when senior midfielder Cameron Sipple was awarded a penalty kick that beat NIU’s junior goalkeeper Konrad Dziedzic.

The Huskies outshot Western Michigan 13-7, but couldn’t capitalize on their possession advantage.

Rodriguez and sophomore midfielder Sheriden Smith were both given yellow cards in the second half.

NIU plays its final regular season game 7 p.m. Saturday against the West Virginia University Mountaineers at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex in a game that could have conference-seeding implications.

“[Next game] is massive in terms of getting a home game in the conference tournament,” Swan said. “It’s going to be tough, but hopefully it will motivate the guys. Getting a home game for the first round of the conference tournament would be a huge advantage.”