Men’s soccer downed in final minute

By Jacob Onak

It was another heartbreaking loss for the men’s soccer team as it fell 2-1 against Western Michigan University.

The Broncos (8-7-1, 4-0-1 MAC) scored two goals in the second half, including the game-winner from Hunter Vandenboom in the last minute to down the Huskies (4-13-0, 0-5-0 MAC).

“I thought we had the better of the play for the majority of the game,” said head coach Eric Luzzi. “Once again, two moments, I don’t know if they had a chance outside of the two goals that they scored and we had a couple, a couple half chances.

“I mean, I guess on their part there’s a reason why they haven’t lost in conference yet. They play with a lot of energy. I feel bad for our guys because we didn’t deserve to lose the game.”

In the first half, and against the harsh wind, it was NIU that had the better of the play. The Huskies had a few chances from the start: Five minutes into the game senior forward James Stevenson fought through Bronco defenders but didn’t get enough on his shot to get it past the WMU keeper.

NIU had a golden chance when senior defender Sean Totsch made a run forward and found junior forward Isaac Kannah wide open in the box. Kannah was off balance, though, hitting his shot over the crossbar.

In the 15th minute, Stevenson’s persistence paid off. The Falkirk, Scotland, native collected a ball on the top of the 6-yard box and turned his defender, poking the ball past the WMU goalkeeper.

The Huskies finished the first half leading 1-0.

In the second half both teams weren’t letting up much until the 73rd minute when the Broncos found their equalizer.

Vandenboom beat his man on the left flank and sent a low cross into midfielder Dom Hunter, who fought his defender off and put the ball into the net.

“We really played two different halves…,” said WMU head coach Chad Wiseman. “We did a good of keeping the ball in the second half. We got into some dangerous areas and had two goals from unexpected guys, two first career goals from Hunter and Dom…. I don’t take anything away from Northern Illinois, they didn’t make it easy for us.”

Vandenboom continued to play the villain role for NIU, as his first career goal sunk the Huskies in the final minute of the match.

Forward Oliver Mayer held the ball up and found a streaking Vandenboom, who put his first touch past the NIU defender and waited just long enough to slot the ball into the net before goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser could cut down the angle.

Junior defender Dusty Page said the Huskies need to put the match behind them and prepare for the weekend.

“…We led the game for the majority of it and had two unfortunate mistakes,” Page said. “They took advantage of them, got good bounces, whatever you want to call it. We just gotta keep pushing through it and get a win on Saturday.”