DeKALB — After grinding out two overtime victories, the men’s soccer team has a chance to extend its winning streak.
This week, the Huskies will face two of their toughest opponents with matches 7 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Illinois – Chicago and 7 p.m. Saturday against St. Mary’s College of California at the Soccer and Track and Field Complex in DeKalb.
The Huskies have been on a roll lately, winning four consecutive games to even their record at 4-4-1.
“It feels pretty good,” Head Coach Ryan Swan said. “I think the guys believe we have the qualities to win games.”
Swan said his guys recognize the two tough teams ahead and are ready to play. The Huskies always wanted to play tougher teams, he said.
UIC has a record of 7-2 while posting a 4-0 home record. The Flames won their previous game on Saturday against Central Michigan University 4-3 in overtime.
Swan said it is not difficult to keep the Huskies ready for the game. While he said he expects another tough matchup, he said he hopes to end UIC’s home streak.
“UIC is a very good team, but we are very familiar with them,” Swan said.
Since 2014, NIU has a record of 2-1-1 against UIC. The Huskies were able to win their matchup with the Flames last season, 1-0.
St. Mary’s will prove to be another intense matchup for the Huskies. The Gaels are coming off a 4-0 victory Sunday against Sacramento State University. During the game, forward Joseph Restani notched a hat trick, and goalkeeper Remi Prieur earned his sixth shutout of the season.
SMC was ranked sixth in the nation, according to the NCAA United Soccer Coaches rankings, released Sept. 23.
The Huskies have not seen SMC since 2013, when the NIU won 2-1, but Swan said he knows how great the Gaels can be.
“[SMC] was a top team at 17-0 last year,” Swan said. “We always wanted to play a top team.”