Huskies outlast Georgia State in OT

Pepe Martinez scored twice to give NIU their 2-1 overtime win to finish Georgia road trip

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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.

Noah Silver, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Late game heroics by senior midfielder Pepe Martinez lead the men’s soccer team to a win over the Georgia State University Panthers 2-1.

“I thought we were exceptional tonight,” head coach Ryan Swan said in a Saturday NIU Athletics news release. “We created enough chances to win three games. There is always a concern that when you play so well, create chances and don’t score, that suddenly you are one moment away from losing a game that you deserve to win.

Georgia State started hot with a shot in the first minute that was turned away by junior redshirt goalkeeper Martin Sanchez.

In the 31st minute, redshirt sophomore midfielder Diego Maynez passed the ball to Martinez, who shot the ball towards the bottom right of the net and scored to put the Huskies up 1-0.

The Panthers responded with the equalizer in the 69th minute when junior midfielder Justin Guest put the ball in the bottom right corner past Sanchez to make the score 1-1.

NIU had a chance to score the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute as senior forward Nick Markanich was given a penalty kick, but Nick ultimately missed.

Redshirt junior forward Enrique Banuelos was all over the ball, totaling eight shots with two of those being on goal. 

In the 87th minute, junior defenseman Adrian Lara had a prime chance on net but was stopped by GSU junior goalkeeper Gunther Rankenburg.

With the score tied in the 90th minute, overtime was needed. In the 94th minute, Martinez played hero as he found the back of the net for the game winning goal and his second goal of the game. 

“We were all getting frustrated because we created so many chances and weren’t scoring, but I don’t think anybody lost belief at any point,” Swan said. “You could see the frustrations, but I thought the guys just believed the entire time that we were going to win it. When we got into overtime, there was no panic, and it was a fantastic way to end it.”

NIU pounded Georgia State with shots, totaling 24 total shots with 11 shots on goal. Georgia State’s offense was stifled for most of the game, only mustering seven shots with three shots on goal.

Georgia State Gunther Rankenburg had a spectacular game, saving nine shots, but ultimately allowing the game winning goal.

NIU, now 3-0-2 in conference play, will be back in action at 2 p.m. on Saturday when they return home for their final home game of the season to face the University of Akron Zips.