DeKALB — A second-half goal from Loyola University - Chicago was enough to put away the Huskies 1-0 Sunday in Chicago.
Loyola senior midfielder Aidan Megally scored the lone goal for the Ramblers at the 75th minute. His goal was one of five shots by Loyola.
NIU led the match with 14 total shots, putting six on frame. Redshirt first-year Enrique Banuelos, junior midfielder Alex Welch and sophomore forward Nick Markanich each tied with three total shots. Welch managed to put two on frame.
“Today I thought we absolutely dominated,” Head Coach Ryan Swan said. “From a tactical perspective, we’re happy with our performance. We made a couple of mistakes and we didn’t capitalize on numerous chances.”
Swan said his team possessed most of the match but wasn’t able to get through Loyola’s defensive style of play.
“The good news is we did a lot of the hard stuff really well,” Swan said. “Now it’s some technical things that we have to clean up, and I’m sure the goals are going to come in future games.”
Markanich had the last chance of the game but couldn’t properly connect with the ball. His shot bounced toward Ramblers graduate-student goalkeeper Marcel Kampman.
Kampman finished the match with five saves, while NIU senior goalkeeper Christoph Koninger blocked one.
NIU has been winless against Loyola since 2006 when NIU beat the Ramblers 1-0 at home. Loyola has taken the last three meetings between the teams, and in 2014 they split a 0-0 draw in double overtime.
The Huskies haven’t lost back-to-back season opening matches since the 2012 season. That season NIU lost to Creighton University 3-1 and 2-1 against University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. Both matches were on the road.
NIU’s next game will be Friday against Green Bay. Swan said he is looking forward to the home opener later this week and expects NIU supporters to energize the team.
“Our record has been good at home,” Swan said. “Green Bay is a tough team, and [the players] will make it difficult. Any help we get from NIU supporters will be fantastic.”
The Huskies have won four out of their last five home openers, outscoring their opponents nine goals to five.
Since 2005, the Huskies have beaten Green Bay four times, all at home.
Kick off is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the NIU Soccer and Track and Field Complex.