West Virginia scored three times in the opening 17 minutes Saturday night on its way to a 4-0 victory over the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team in NIU’s Mid-American Conference opener.
The Huskies hit a pair of posts in the opening 45 minutes but were unable to overcome the quick start by the Mountaineers.
West Virginia (4-5-1, 1-1-0 MAC) opened the scoring in the 11th minute. The Mountaineers earned a corner and Andy Bevin took it short to Majed Osman. Osman found Christian Diaz near the top of the box; he fired through a crowd and into the net to give West Virginia the early lead.
The Mountaineers doubled the lead in the 15th minute as Bevin found the back of the net. Alex Ochoa crossed in toward Bevin who took the ball off the chest, turned and found himself all alone eight yards from goal and slotted past redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State).
West Virginia scored again in the 17th minute. Bevin crossed in from the right side and found Jamie Merriam all alone 12 yards from goal. Merriam took the cross first time and fired past Glaeser to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead.
Just a minute later Northern Illinois (3-7-0, 0-1-0 MAC) nearly answered as junior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) hit the post from just inside the box, West Virginia scrambled the rebound away for a Huskie corner. Off the corner kick, junior Andrew Palumbo (Ft. Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/Darton College) had a chance from just outside the top of the box but his effort went high.
In the 32nd minute, senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) hit a second post for Northern Illinois. Kannah got in behind the West Virginia backline down the left wing, cut inside toward the box and fed a pass to Stevenson whose effort caromed off the woodwork.
The Mountaineers responded with their own shot off the post in the 35th minute Osman’s effort from the top of the box skimmed off the post to the right of Glaeser.
Northern Illinois drew a foul in a dangerous position 20 yards from goal in the 38th minute. Kannah stepped up to hit the free kick, driving it low and on goal to force a save from West Virginia goalkeeper Lee Johnston.
Less than two minutes after the intermission, the Huskies created the first chance of the second half off a corner kick. Senior Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) found himself alone at the backpost and fired a shot from a tight angle that forced a save from Johnston.
Totsch had another chance from down the right side in the 87th minute, hitting the side-netting just outside the post.
A minute later, Ryan Cain finished the scoring for the Mountaineers. Cain got on the end of a long ball from the back and was one-on-one with Glaeser, making a move around the Huskie goalkeeper and slotting the ball into the back of the net for the final 4-0 scoreline.
Northern Illinois will return to action Wednesday, Oct. 9, as the Huskies travel to Evanston to face fifth-ranked Northwestern. Game time against the Wildcats is scheduled for 6 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.