Men’s soccer fast start not enough

By Tom Burton

DeKALB| Men’s soccer opened their season Friday night with a 1-1 tie against the defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Cougars.

NIU (0-0-1) was led by sophomore midfielder Max Voss, who tallied the first collegiate goal of his career in Friday’s contest.

The Huskies were unable to hold the lead as a second half penalty kick for the Cougars forced overtime.

“I thought we were definitely better in the first half,” said NIU Head Coach Eric Luzzi after Friday’s match. “[The Cougars were] definitely better in the second half, and overtime was pretty even, with an ever so slight advantage to us.”

The Huskies created several scoring opportunities for themselves with nine shots, including two shots on goal from sophomore forward Noah Brodie.

“I think our biggest thing was that [the team] didn’t maintain the level of quality and energy that we had in the first half,” Luzzi said. “We weren’t able to maintain our energy and dominance over all 90 minutes.”

NIU had control for both of the overtime periods, creating good scoring opportunitites but were unable to get the ball past the Cougars junior goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo in the two overtime periods.

Neither team prevailed victorious after the overtime periods.

“Even though [Southern Illinois-Edwardsville] had the upper hand in the second half, I thought the performance was pretty good,” Luzzi said. “There’s a lot to be pleased with.”

The Huskies will have an opportunity to get their first win of the season against the University of Marquette at 7 p.m. tonight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the team continues its season-opening road trip. 

The Marquette Golden Eagles (0-1-0) opened its season with a 4-0 loss to the University of Kentucky Wildcats, but the Huskies do not intend on taking any opponent for granted.

“At the end of the day, anytime you play against teams from the big conferences, I think it’s a good challenge,” Luzzi said. “It’s an opportunity for us to measure ourselves against top teams.”

Tonight’s matchup against the Golden Eagles marks the fifth meeting in the last six seasons between the squads, with the teams splitting the previous four matches.