Huskies post second consecutive clean sheet

By Marcel Carrasco

The Huskies secured a well-fought win Tuesday over the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames.

“I think it was a great performance tonight, a great win,” Head Coach Ryan Swan said. “Obviously, UIC [is] a very strong, very experienced team. “I thought we managed [the match] pretty well and limited a very good attacking team to just a handful of opportunities.”

The Huskies took the lead 30 minutes into the game and never looked back. Junior forward Jan Maertins placed his shot low and junior midfielder Irvin Dominguez assisted with pass torpedoing through the Flames’ defense.

NIU and UIC both posted 10 total shots, but the Huskies put eight on frame to the Flames’ four. Maertins ended the match with three shots, putting two on goal. Huskies first year midfielder Nick Markanich put all three of his shots on goal, forcing saves from UIC goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman. Jackman ended the match with seven saves, preventing a blowout.

Tuesday’s clash saw 30 total fouls, 18 coming from the Huskies. NIU and UIC both received three yellow cards.

The Huskies were anchored by a strong defensive backline and clutch goalkeeping from redshirt Junior Konrad Dziedzic.

“The defense did a phenomenal job, and the midfield worked their tails off the entire game and they limited their shots and chances,” Dziedzic said.” When they have the chance, I have to come up big. I truly helped out as more of a team effort. The defense had good saves and I had good saves.”

Dziedzic finished the match with four saves, including a second post save from a direct free kick by UIC’s senior midfielder Oscar Gonzalez with 15 minutes left in the game.

Dziedzic came up big with a save on a shot by Flames’ junior midfielder Jesus Perez with only five minutes left. This marks Dziedzic’s fourth clean sheet of the year.

“As a whole unit, we were very good and limited UIC to a few chances, but when we called upon [Dziedzic, he] came up with two fantastic saves,” Swan said.

NIU faces the Eastern Illinois University Panthers at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Charleston. Friday night’s match will begin the first of two four-game road trips this season.

“The next game is the toughest one,” Swan said. “Obviously, we got a turnaround and travel down to Eastern so it’s only a three days recovery with having to travel, so that will be tough. Although we didn’t use too many of our squad today, we only made three or four subs; we have a really good squad.”