Men’s soccer falls to Buffalo in MAC opener

By Brian Thomas

No. 18 ranked NIU men’s soccer dropped its MAC opener Saturday against Buffalo, 2-1 in double overtime.

The Huskies (7-2-0) had numerous missed opportunities, as they outshot the Bulls (6-5-1) 19-6.

“We had a ton of chances today, but when we didn’t finish our chances today our belief wavered,” said Eric Luzzi, NIU head men’s soccer coach . “We had our chances. We didn’t put them away; that’s it.”

Buffalo took the early lead on a goal from junior Maksym Kowal in the 17th minute of the game.

In the 72nd minute, NIU sophomore James Stevenson scored his second goal of the year for the Huskies, tying the game at 1-1.

“Initially, I thought after the goal we took our foot off the gas,” Luzzi said.

The game would remain tied at 1-1 and go into overtime.

However, neither team was able to score in overtime, so an extra round of play was necessary.

The Huskies had a chance to win the game in the second overtime on a header from junior Mike Mascitti, but Bulls goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi made a great save to keep the game alive.

“Some days it goes in for you and some days it doesn’t,” said NIU senior Francis Otira. “I think the chance we had to score on Mike’s header, that was an amazing save from the keeper. Sometimes you just have the luck with you and they had it with them.”

In the 107th minute, Buffalo’s Lukas Fedler sent a header off the back post into the goal to win the game for the Bulls.

“It hurts big time just losing in general, especially against Buffalo and at our home,” Otira said. “I guess it hurts, but the only thing we can do is see how we react to it, and that will determine how good of a team we are. We just have to bounce back.”