NIU draws with BGSU in ranked battle

The Huskies shutout streak ends, but NIU hangs tough with #17 Falcons and share lead of conference

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Sean Reed | Northern Star

Freshman forward Zachariah Thomas plays the ball in the first half against Bowling Green on Oct. 16. Thomas scored NIU’s lone goal in a 1-1 tie.

James Krause, Sports Editor

DeKALB — The 22nd ranked men’s soccer saw their winning streak and shutout streak both end Saturday in a 1-1 tie against the 17th ranked Bowling Green State University Falcons.

After each team scored in the first half, the Huskies and Falcons held strong defensively to force NIU’s first draw of the season and Bowling Green’s first draw since their season opener. Head coach Ryan Swan said his team got exactly the kind of match they expected.

“It was everything that we expected coming in,” Swan said. “(Bowling Green’s) work rate is phenomenal. I don’t think there’s another team in the country that covers as much ground as they do. I thought we matched it well, managed to find our opportunities and looked like the stronger team at the end.”

The Falcons were the aggressors early, getting three early corner kicks in the opening minutes. Bowling Green’s best early opportunity came in the 10th minute when a shot by Falcons senior midfielder Kale Nichols ricocheted off the top bar and back out.

The Huskies’ defensive play was rewarded at the other end in the 13th minute. Freshman forward Zachariah Thomas scored on a lob shot from just outside the box. Thomas’ second goal of the year, assisted by senior forward Nick Markanich, gave NIU the 1-0 lead early.

A total of 22 fouls were called between the two teams, the most critical coming in the 32nd minute when senior defenseman Adrian Corona was called for a foul that gave Bowling Green a free kick.

Falcons junior midfielder Nathan Masters assisted on a goal by redshirt senior defenseman Jacob Erlandson in the 33rd minute to tie the game at 1-1.

After finishing the first half tied, neither team was able to take advantage of their opportunities. In the 63rd minute, a shot by BGSU sophomore midfielder Kyle Cusimano from close range went over the top of the net. Five minutes later, redshirt junior forward Enrique Banuelos had a shot go just wide left of the goal. 

NIU outshot BGSU in the second half, but no change in the score meant the two teams went to overtime. The Huskies had a pair of shots miss the mark, including a shot by senior forward Miguel Maynez Jr. saved by Falcons junior goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk.

Neither team scored in the first overtime and neither team was able to get a shot off in the second overtime, resulting in the 1-1 draw after 110 minutes.

NIU now takes a 10-1-1 record on a two-game road trip, starting at 6 p.m. Thursday against the Georgia Southern University Eagles.