The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team recorded its third-straight win with a 3-0 victory Saturday over Bowling Green.
Senior Pat Sloan (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) scored in the first half before senior Kenny Kranz (Champaign, Ill./Centennial) and freshman Jayson LeSeth (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) added tallies in the second 45 minutes. Junior Goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) made four saves en route to his third consecutive shutout.
“Our guys played well, especially given the difficult conditions,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said. “It poured for about 45 minutes right before kickoff, during the warm-ups, so the field was very wet, muddy and sloppy. I thought our guys managed those conditions very well and played some very good soccer given the conditions.”
With the win, NIU improved to 11-4 on the season, 3-2 in conference play.
Sloan opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a goal off a corner kick by sophomore Gael Rivera (Oslo, Norway/WANG Elite Sports Academy). Sloan’s shot was deflected on its way toward goal and found the back of the net at the far post.
The goal was the fourth of the season for Sloan, all of his goals have been game-winners this season.
“It years past we have been successful on because we could throw three or four guys in the box that were 6-foot-3 plus and someone would get on the end of the ball,” Luzzi said of scoring on set pieces. “We don’t have that same type of size this year, so I think now a lot of our success has come from very good service.”
The Huskies took the 1-0 lead to the intermission, NIU held a 6-3 advantage in shots in the opening 45 minutes.
Kranz doubled the advantage for the Huskies with his first goal of the season in the 62nd minute. Sophomore James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) made a long run through the Falcon defense before feeding Kranz who fired home a goal from 10 yards in front of goal.
The goal was the first for Kranz in his career as a Huskie.
LeSeth capped the night with a third goal for NIU in the 85th minute. The Huskies earned a free kick just outside the box that was taken by sophomore Karim Darbaki (Faribualt, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) who played the ball to LeSeth 10 yards from goal. LeSeth’s shot made it through a cluster of bodies in front and into the goal for his second of the season.
NIU finished the game with a 15-8 edge in shots attempted.
The shutout was the ninth of the season recorded by Godsey and the Huskie defense.
“Our guys have had a lot of the ball the last three games and that has taken the pressure off of our backline to have to defend,” Luzzi said. “But at the same time, when they have been called upon they have been up to the task.”
Northern Illinois will play its final non-conference match of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 2, when the Huskies travel to Milwaukee to face UW-Milwaukee. Game time against the Panthers is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.