The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team fell 2-0 Saturday night to third-ranked Akron. Darren Mattocks scored both of the goals for the defending national champion Zips.
“I thought that our guys showed Akron a little bit too much respect,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said.
“Don’t get me wrong, Akron is a very, very good team, but we are a good team too and I thought that our guys were a bit scared in the first half. As a result, we made some poor decisions and bad mistakes in the back, and Akron has very good players that will punish you for that. On the whole it was disappointing because our guys, on their day, could compete (with Akron).”
Mattocks opened the scoring for the Zips with a header in the 16th minute. Aodhan Quinn stepped up to take a free kick for Akron and found the head of Mattocks who gave the hosts an early lead.
Mattocks doubled the lead for Akron in the 32nd minute. Luke Holmes played a ball in behind the Huskie defense and Mattocks ran onto it and slotted a shot inside the far post. The goal was the 10th of the season for Mattocks, who ranks in the top-10 in the nation in scoring.
The Zips held a 5-2 edge in shots in the opening 45 minutes.
The Huskies continued to push forward in the final moments of the contest, testing Akron goalkeeper David Meves off a free kick in the 88th minute. But the Akron defense, which has allowed just six goals all season, held off the Huskie attack.
Junior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey made four saves in the match for the Huskies. Akron finished with a 13-3 advantage in shots.
NIU will conclude its three-game road trip Wednesday, Oct. 12, when the Huskies travel to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern. Game time between the Huskies and Wildcats is slated for 7 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.