Men’s soccer extends historic run

A 3-0 victory over Chicago State gives NIU their sixth straight victory and fourth by shutout

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Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

The men’s soccer team celebrates a goal by redshirt junior Enrique Banuelos (middle, 9) on Aug. 26. Banuelos scored in NIU’s 3-0 victory over Chicago State that extended their winning streak to six games.

Noah Silver, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Two early goals by redshirt junior forward Enrique Banuelos and senior defenseman Anthony Markanich lead the  Huskies to a 3-0 Tuesday over the Chicago State University Wildcats.

Tuesday’s game marked the team’s  sixth consecutive win, the first such streak for NIU soccer in 15 years. 

“If you look at Chicago State’s results, they have been in a lot of overtime games and had a lot of close results, so it was very important that we got off to a quick start,”  head coach Ryan Swan said in an NIU Athletics news release. “We were delighted to get the two goals in the first five minutes.” 

The Huskies came out of the gate fast at SeatGeek Stadium as the quickfire offense drove down field. In the second minute, senior midfielder Adrian Corona crossed a ball inside the box, which was headed straight into the net by Banuelos. 

Before Chicago State could digest the first goal, Anthony Markanich showed off his hops to head the ball between the posts and put the Huskies up 2-0. 

In the 26th minute, senior forward Nick Markanich tallied his 10th goal of the season with a rocket to the top shelf past Chicago State graduate goalkeeper Joe Bowles to make the score 3-0. Markanich now leads the nation in scoring and ties a school record for consecutive games scored held by Eirik Frederiksen in the 1997 season. 

NIU almost capitalized on another chance in the second half as Banuelos booted a ball that just nicked the post and was recovered by the Cougar’s defense. 

Just moments later, in the 76th, freshman forward Zachariah Thomas had a tough shot saved by Bowles to prevent the Huskies from taking on another score. 

“Chicago State was confident throughout the game, worked hard and made it difficult,”  Swan said. “They were very physical and very direct in their play, and I think we will see more of that in the coming week, so this was a good test for us.” 

With another shutout, redshirt junior goalkeeper Martin Sanchez recorded his fourth straight shutout and fifth of the season. The Huskies have now gone a total of 411:33 minutes without allowing a goal. 

The Huskies will travel to Green Bay to face the Phoenix at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+.