Season winding down for men’s soccer

By Krystal Ward

Men’s soccer (7-6-1, 1-2-1 MAC) fell 1-0 to Western Michigan (9-3-4, 2-1-1 MAC) Saturday night, giving the Huskies one more opportunity to clinch a spot in the MAC Tournament semifinal.

A slower paced game was expected against WMU’s tough defense. Broncos goalkeeper Drew Shepherd had been forced to make only 21 saves coming into the game, and a lot of that had to do with the backline of WMU.

NIU had only given up five goals in eight home games this season, but it had also only scored seven goals in eight games at home. The Huskies had a few opportunities to score against WMU’s defense but couldn’t capitalize on any of them.

Freshman forward Giovanni Pacheco had the best scoring opportunity in the first period, but his shot went just wide off of the goal post. Sophomore defender Luke Read served a ball to sophomore midfielder Giovanni Garcia, who missed the goal late in the first period.

NIU connected on its passes early in the second period, leading to a couple of scoring opportunities. The biggest was a cross from sophomore midfielder Nicolas Wandl to Gaschot, but Gaschot overshot the goal.

Gaschot had another opportunity when his defender fell down after battling in the box; however, Gaschot passed to freshman midfielder Kevin Rodriguez, and the Huskies received a corner kick.

“With the amount of rain tonight it kept getting a little bit out of reach, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the shot,” Gaschot said. “I probably should’ve shot looking back on it, but it’s just one of those things where I kept pushing it a little bit too far, and it was just out of reach.”

The Broncos outshot the Huskies 11-7 and ended the game with a 17-16 foul difference. Both teams made four saves.

“Western Michigan’s a good team,” said head coach Eric Luzzi. “Over the 90 minutes there really wasn’t an ounce of difference between the two teams. They had one moment. They made a play. We had a couple chances to make our plays and we weren’t fortunate in those moments, but on the whole it was a solid performance.”