Men’s soccer seeks offensive outburst vs. Western Mich.


By Frank Gogola

Senior midfielder/forward Isaac Kannah is more than confident men’s soccer will leave Kalamazoo, Mich., with multiple goals and its first conference win.

The Huskies (2-5-5, 0-0-1 MAC) will take on the Western Michigan Broncos (6-3-3, 0-0-1 MAC) noon Saturday. NIU hasn’t won since Sept. 12, and Western Michigan hasn’t lost since Sept. 21.

The Huskies scored their first goal in nearly 370 minutes when sophomore forward Chris Paton netted the equalizer in the 46th minute Saturday against West Virginia. Seeing the ball find the back of the net after being shut out three-straight games has Kannah excited for the offense to take the field against the Broncos.

“I think we’re definitely going to score,” Kannah said. “We’re going to score and win, to be honest. The offense is going to score at least three goals. It’s going to happen.”

While Kannah is confident in the Huskies’ offense, head coach Eric Luzzi is cautiously optimistic about seeing a lot of goals.

“There’s just not that many games in college soccer where anybody scores more than one or two [goals],” Luzzi said. “That being said, it’s been a very good couple days of training. We had a good end of the week last week. I thought we created a lot of very good stuff against West Virginia. So, I feel very good about where our attack is, but [scoring that many goals] just doesn’t happen that often.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Huskies have been working to improve. They gave up 13 goals in their first nine games, but they’ve given up only three goals in their last three games.

“We worked on a lot of individual defending stuff … at practice,” said senior defender Dusty Page. “I honestly think we’re the strongest we’ve ever been this season on defense. Hopefully, we’ll get another shutout and come out with a win.”

The Huskies will have their hands full with a Broncos team that has scored 19 goals in 12 games. Luzzi said the Huskies will have to watch out for defender Connor Furgason, midfielder Sean Conerty and midfielder Greg Timmer, who he said are all “pretty good.”

Furgason is tied for the team lead with three goals and has added two assists. Conerty, a transfer from Michigan State, has notched a team-leading eight assists in eight games. Timmer is the reigning National Soccer Coaches Association of America Junior College Division I National Player of the Year award winner.

“They’ve had a very good season so far,” Luzzi said. “They had some very good guys transfer in this year. They’re a good team, hard to play against. They work hard. They’re committed. And they’re quite good on set pieces.”