Men’s soccer to play Ohio, Bowling Green on the road

By Brian Thomas

With the postseason right around the corner, NIU men’s soccer’s last three matches of the season are important in determining whether it makes the MAC tournament or not.

“They’re crucial for us,” said Eric Luzzi, NIU head men’s soccer coach. “Other than Akron, nobody has locked down a spot in the conference tournament yet. We have seven teams; only four make it in. They are massively crucial because we haven’t yet qualified for the conference tournament. So this game on Saturday is very important.”

Sophomore Karim Darbaki agreed that these remaining matches are huge for the Huskies.

“They’re actually really big because there are just three conference games left,” Darbaki said. “If we win all these, we can make it to the NCAA tournament. So obviously that’s the goal, to make it as far as possible.”

NIU (10-4-0, 2-2-0 MAC) will travel to Ohio to take on MAC opponent Bowling Green.

“They are much improved,” Luzzi said. “Every year they have been on a pretty consistent incline. They beat Michigan earlier in the year and tied Michigan State. They have had some pretty good results. So they’re definitely better than they have been in the past. It will be a tough challenge.”

Another key for NIU will be the play of its strong defense, as it has recorded eight shutouts this season.

“If we don’t have things pretty secure in the back, we aren’t able to play the way we want to going forward,” Luzzi said. “Our back four is solid, but it’s the fact that they’re so solid, which allows the front four, front five players, to do what we want them to do.”