“We have played a number of very good teams so far this season and Drake was the hardest to play against,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. “They are big, athletic, strong, physical and they definitely had us under pressure for stretches of the game. That being said, I couldn’t be more proud of the guys tonight.”
The Huskies and Bulldogs each tallied five shots in the opening 45 minutes but Stevenson’s marker was the only thing to separate the two sides.
Stevenson pressed the Drake center back into a turnover and then dribbled past four Bulldogs before sliding the ball beyond the goalkeeper for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal. The tally was the first of the year, and fourth of his NIU career, for the Falkirk, Scotland native. Eight of the Huskies’ 13 goals this season have come in the first half.
Freshman Isaac Kannah nearly doubled the NIU advantage in the 79th minute as his effort hit the post but neither team was able to find the net in the second half. Drake outshot NIU, 8-5, in the second stanza.
The Huskies recorded their fifth shutout of the season in the win over Drake, junior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey made seven saves and freshman defender Dusty Page saw the first action of his collegiate career.
“Dusty Page did a fantastic job and Jordan Godsey made two absolutely world class saves that kept us in the game,” Luzzi said of the Huskie defensive effort. “For a kid playing his first college minutes, Dusty played like he has been there a number of times before.”
NIU will return to action next Saturday, Oct. 1, as the Huskies host Buffalo in their Mid-American Conference opener. Game time against the Bulls is scheduled for 1 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.