Despite having more possession, hitting both the post and the crossbar and earning a pair of penalty kicks, the Northern Illinois men’s soccer team was upended, 2-0, by Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at the Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic.
Ohio State (1-1-0) scored in the 31st minute on a goal by Alex Harrison and in the 73rd on a tally by Ryan Ivancic. The Huskies outshot the tournament host Buckeyes, 18-8, but were unable to find a way past Alex Ivanov in goal for OSU.
“Today was the opposite of Friday,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “On Friday we were pleased with the result but not overly pleased with the performance. Today we have a lot to be pleased about in the performance but it was a very disappointing result. Credit Ohio State, they were efficient, they finished two of the few chances they created.
“We hit the post, we hit the crossbar and we missed two penalty kicks. We did everything we needed to do in the game and we can’t be too disappointed in anything other than ourselves. There are a lot of positives in the performance and we just have to get back to work on Tuesday.”
The first real chance of the contest came in the 14th minute as junior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) did well to work himself down the wing before cutting in toward goal and firing a shot just high over the crossbar.
Northern Illinois (1-1-0) had another chance in the 21st minute as junior Sanel Hasanovic (St. Louis, Mo./Bayless/Jefferson College) collected the ball just outside the top of the box and was allowed to turn toward goal. On the turn Hasanovic whistled a shot that had Ivanov beat but went just wide of the post.
Ohio State took the lead against the run of play through Harrison in the 31st minute. After the Buckeyes won a free kick just outside the box wide of goal, Alex Gardner whipped in a good ball toward the six-yard box, Harrison rose highest and headed it home to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Despite outshooting the Buckeyes, 7-3, in the opening 45 minutes, the Huskies went into the halftime break trailing by a goal.
NIU had a chance to even the score in the 63rd minute as the Huskies drew a penalty kick. Sophomore Kyle Crichton (Ajax, Ontario, Canada/Pickering) played the ball to sophomore Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) who was taken down and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. On the spot kick, Ivanov got down low to make the save and the Buckeye defense cleared any potential rebound opportunity.
The Huskies had another excellent chance in the 72nd minute as senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) fired a shot from just inside the 18-yard box that Ivanov could only push back into play.
Just a minute later the Buckeyes hit the Huskies on the counter to double the advantage. Ohio State found space down the left side and Alex Bujenovic found Ivancic at the back post for a goal to give OSU a 2-0 lead with just 17 minutes remaining.
Continuing to push forward, NIU had another another excellent opportunity in the 82nd minute as junior Andrew Palumbo (Ft. Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot/Darton College) hit the post. In the ensuing scramble Kannah was taken down, leading to another penalty, but Ivanov was again up to the challenge, making the save and allowing no rebound.
Junior Paul Hogan (Downers Grove, Ill./North) hit the crossbar in the 89th minute but, as had been the case all afternoon, the Huskies just could not find the back of the net despite finishing the match with an 18-8 edge in shots.
Gaschot and sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) were named to the Wolstein Classic All-Tournament Team.
Northern Illinois will return to the State of Ohio this weekend as the Huskies travel to Cincinnati to take part in the Cincinnati Bearcat Classic. NIU will face Evansville on Friday, Sept. 6, and 15th-ranked Saint Louis on Sunday, Sept. 8.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.