Behind goals from sophomore Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood), senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) and junior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy), the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team opened the 2013 regular season with a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati on Friday at the Wolstein Classic.
“The result was good,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “Anytime you score three goals it’s great, because scoring is fragile. I thought there were moments where we put good sequences together; there were moments of decent pressure, sustained pressure on their backline, but I think there is a lot for this group to improve on.”
NIU had the first chance of the contest when junior Shawn Vroom (Kohler, Wis./Kohler) flashed a header just wide in the seventh minute. The Huskies won a corner and the initial ball was cleared back toward the corner to junior Jayson LeSeth (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine Wsest) who whipped in a good cross near the six-yard box but Vroom’s header went wide of the post.
Four minutes later Northern Illinois had another chance from a corner as senior Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) had a free header cleared off the goal line. Running alone near the penalty spot, the corner kick found Totsch and his header was ticketed for goal until it was cleared off the line by a Cincinnati defender.
The Bearcats had their first chance of the half in the 16th minute as a good turn by Ashani Walker gave him an opening in the box, but NIU goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) made an excellent reaction save to keep the game scoreless.
NIU opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on Gaschot’s first career goal. Stevenson took the ball off a Cincinnati defender 30 yards from goal and played the ball into the path of Gaschot who was 1-on-1 with the Bearcat goalkeeper Taylor Hafling. Gaschot slotted the ball calmly past the goalkeeper from near the top of the box to give the Huskies a 1-0 advantage.
In the 29th minute Glaeser was called upon again, making a save at full stretch to help NIU take their 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Cincinnati started the second half brightly. In the 51st minute, Alan Rovira took a long distance shot that Glaeser did well to get down to and tip around the post.
Six minutes later, NIU began to take more control as Kannah found his way into space and around Hafling. Kannah’s pass toward goal deflected to Stevenson who was taken down in the box for a Huskie penalty kick.
Stevenson took the penalty, his attempt was saved but the Falkirk, Scotland native followed up the initial shot and put away the rebound for a 2-0 NIU lead.
In the 68th minute, more dangerous play from Kannah down the wing drew NIU another corner. Junior Sanel Hasanovic (St. Louis, Mo./Bayless/Jefferson College) got free off the corner and headed his attempt just wide of goal.
The Huskies had another chance from a corner in the 78th minute. The delivery came from freshman Adam Lightner (O’Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) and Totsch’s flashing header just missed the target.
In the waning moments, Gaschot drew a second penalty for the Huskies as he was taken down inside the six-yard box. Kannah stepped up and converted the penalty for the Huskies, giving NIU the 3-0 victory.
Glaeser finished with four saves while recording the shutout in his first career appearance as a Huskie.
“He made three or four really good saves,” said Luzzi of Glaeser. “I’ve been saying it all of preseason, all three of our goalkeepers have been very sharp. I’m happy for Andrew, he definitely did a lot to preserve the clean sheet today.”
Northern Illinois will return to action Sunday, Sept. 1, when the Huskies take on tournament host Ohio State. Game time against the Buckeyes is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CT.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.