Men’s soccer loses sixth of last seven

By Tom Burton

DeKALB — The men’s soccer team could not get a win on senior night for the final home game for a select group of players.

Before the game, NIU honored their seniors in goalkeeper Drew Donnally, midfielder Giovanni Garcia, defender Luke Read and midfielder Jerome Roche.

{{tncms-inline account=”NIUMSoccer” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The 2017 NIU Senior Class who was honored before their final home game tonight. <a href=""></a></p>— NIU Men's Soccer (@NIUMSoccer) <a href="">October 21, 2017</a></blockquote>” id=”921875189734039552″ type=”twitter”}}

The Huskies (3-0, 0-2-1 Mid-American Conference) fell to in-state MAC rival Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Cougars 1-0 in overtime Saturday.

Cougars senior forward Devyn Jambga headed the ball into the Huskie net past sophomore goalkeeper Konrad Dziedzic in the beginning of the overtime period to hold the Huskies winless in conference play.

Even with the outcome, Head Coach Ryan Swan said the team made progressive steps in the game.

“I thought it was a good game tonight [and] I thought it was a good performance [by our team],” Swan said. “A lot of things we’ve been asking for from [our team], they gave us. It wasn’t always pretty, but I thought we battled.”

The game changed for both sides as things got a little chippy after a slide tackle from the Huskies. Both benches werecleared and Cougars sophomore midfielder Jorge Gonzalez and NIU freshman forward Sheriden Smith were ejected from the game.

Swan said he did not think the outbreak had a negative impact on his team, and it was part of the competitive nature of the game.

“It’s an in-state rivalry and it’s a conference game so I think [players] are supposed to be fired up for these games,” Swan said. “I think both teams did a good job of settling it back down and not letting it get out of control.”

The game was scoreless after regulation and the Huskies had a chance to get their first conference win, but Jambga and the Cougars handed NIU the loss.

The Huskies have only scored four goals in their last six games, with one of them being an own goal by the opponent. The team has also not won in their last seven outings, dating back to Sept. 20 against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Swan said the team is doing better on creating offensive chances, and the team’s struggles are more than just offense.

“I feel like we’re creating good opportunities on the attack, and I still think there are goals in this team, so I don’t think [offense] is the big issue,” Swan said.