Huskies fall to Zips in home finale


Northern Star File Photo

Redshirt senior forward Enrique Banuelos in possession of the ball during NIU men’s soccer match Sunday night at the NIU Soccer & Track and Field Complex. (Marco Sotelo Avila | Northern Star)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

DeKALBThe NIU men’s soccer team (5-7-4, 2-4-1 MAC) was defeated by the University of Akron Zips (10-2-4, 4-0-2) at home Saturday night.

Three seniors were honored before they played their final home game. Fifth year midfielder Adrian Corona, senior defender Adrian Lara and redshirt senior goalkeeper Martin Sanchez played their last home game of the season.

Sanchez said his family came to support him, and he enjoyed his time at NIU.

“I learned a lot of things throughout my years of playing here,” Sanchez said. “It hasn’t hit me yet that that was my last game at home, but I enjoyed every minute playing today.”

NIU didn’t allow the Zips to score in the first half. Akron took five shots and did not capitalize off any of them. Sanchez had two saves in the first half.

Senior midfielder Luis Hernandez scored the Huskies’ first goal of the game at the 30-minute mark.The Huskies entered halftime up 1-0. 

Akron showed up to play in the second half as they scored two goals. The first was scored in the 73-minute by Akron sophomore forward Jason Shokalook. The Zips scored their second goal after a shot from sophomore midfielder Josh HallenBerger. 

NIU did not record a goal in the second half and lost 2-1.

Head coach Ryan Swan expressed how Akron differs from other teams in the Mid-American Conference.

“They are very comfortable with the ball and keep the ball well,” Swan said. “They are a possession-oriented team, while other MAC teams are direct with their style of play.”

The Huskies head on the road as they are set to battle the Bowling Green State University Falcons at 5 p.m. Sunday at Mickey Cochrane Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio. The game will be available to watch on NIU Athletics and live stats will be available on SIDEARM Sports.