Men’s soccer falls to Broncos, drops in MAC standing

By Jacob Onak

In a rare midweek day game, NIU men’s soccer fell 2-0 to the Western Michigan Broncos in Kalamazoo yesterday. The loss drops NIU (59-3, 3-2-1 MAC) to fifth place in the MAC, one place out of a tournament-qualifying spot.

The first half had a lot of back and forth play, with Western Michigan (11-5-2, 3-2-1 MAC) just edging out NIU in shots, six to three. The Huskies maintained a good amount of possession but could not find the edge while having the wind at their backs.

It was senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey who continued to have a bright season as he made four saves in the first half.

Sophomore midfielder Jayson LeSeth said there was no rhythm to the Huskies’ attack.

“Our attack didn’t pass like we usually do,” LeSeth said. “I thought our attack didn’t have the fast, quick pace and flow that we usually have. We had a slow flow.”

As the second half started, the Huskies found themselves against the wind and under pressure from a strong Broncos attack.

Western Michigan found the first goal in the 77th minute through sophomore forward Jason Grant. A long punt from Broncos keeper Sean Lewis bounced off a couple players, finding the feet of Grant, who put it into the net to give his team a 1-0 lead.

The Huskies tried to push and find a tying goal but after sending numbers forward they found themselves vulnerable at the back, leading to a second and final Western Michigan goal.

Freshman Erik Kelly got his second goal of the season off a strike from the center of the box, giving his team the insurance goal it needed. NIU head coach Eric Luzzi didn’t think his team did enough to win the game.

“It was just OK,” Luzzi said. “We weren’t as sharp as I think we have been in many of our previous games. They didn’t have a lot of chances, they put away the one chance they had and now we had to kind of wish for it a little bit. Naturally, when you’re pushing to get the tying goal you are going to be little bit exposed at the back and that’s when they got the second one.”

Senior defender Rocco Taglia said his team needs to recover mentally for its final, must-win conference game against Buffalo.

“It’s more mental than anything for us,” Taglia said. “We know we have that physical tools and we can play with any team. We just have to understand that we can’t pressure ourselves, we just have to put a full-team, collective effort like we know how to and go out there and get a result.”