The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team wrapped up its preseason with a 2-0 victory over UIC at Flames Field.
“On the whole I thought it was a really good game,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “I think UIC is going to be a really good team this year. It was a pretty even game, from our perspective over the course of 90 minutes I would have liked to have gotten on the ball a little bit more but I thought it the moments we were on the ball we were decent. We created some good chances from the possession that we did have.”
Both teams had their share of possession in the first 30 minutes of the contest with UIC recording the lone shots of the opening half hour. The Flames had a trio of long distance opportunities, all easily held by senior Miles Herbert (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville).
In the 39th minute, Northern Illinois had the best chance to open the scoring in the opening 45 minutes. A shot from Kannah just inside the box looked harmless, but slipped through UIC goalkeeper Andrew Putna and off the post. Putna quickly jumped on the ball off the bar and the danger was averted for the Flames.
Three minutes later, Kannah was again in on goal. His initial shot was saved and the ball bounced off the hand of a UIC defender, but claims for a penalty kick were waved away by the referee.
After the interval, the Huskies quickly took control of the contest. In the 52nd minute, junior Sanel Hasanovic (St. Louis, Mo./Bayless/Jefferson College) drew a foul in a dangerous position. Hasanovic took the ensuing free kick, but his effort went high of the target.
The Huskies continued to control most of the play and finally got the breakthrough from Kannah in the 62nd minute. UIC goalkeeper Piotr Kikolski came to claim a ball on the edge of the penalty area but spilled the ball into the feet of Kannah who coolly sidestepped the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the net.
NIU had a chance to double the advantage in the 65th when Kannah played senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) into the box. Stevenson got off a shot while being tackled but Kikolski smothered the ball.
UIC nearly caught NIU on the counter attack in the 67th minute. Gabriel Martinez had a chance on goal, but his effort was well held by sophomore Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State).
The stop was Glaeser’s lone save of the contest, freshman Mike Pavliga (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) also made a save and Herbert recorded three stops as all three Huskie goalkeepers saw action in the contest. The trio combined for its second consecutive shutout of the preseason.
“If you don’t concede you can’t lose,” said Luzzi. “To be fair, UIC had a couple of good chances. On the whole I would say decent defensively, but a lot of work still to do.”
Following a goal line clearance by junior Shawn Vroom (Kohler, Wis./Kohler) with the Flames pushing forward for an equalizer it was the Huskies converting on the counterattack in the 88th minute. Stevenson came through midfield with the ball before feeding it into the path of Gaschot who made no mistake, beating Kikolski to give the Huskies a 2-0 victory,
Northern Illinois will return to action Friday, Aug. 30, when it opens the 2013 regular season against Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio, at the Wolstein Classic. The contest against the Bearcats is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.