Western Michigan scored with just 53 seconds remaining Tuesday night to claim a 2-1 victory over the Northern Illinois University men’s soccer team at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
Senior James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) gave the Huskies the lead in the first half but two goals in the final 20 minutes lifted Western Michigan to the victory.
“It’s frustrating,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi.
“I thought we had the better of the play for the majority of the game. Two moments. I don’t know if they had a chance outside of the two goals that they scored, and we had a couple, a couple of half-chances. I guess there is a reason why they haven’t lost in conference yet, they play with a lot of energy. I feel bad for our guys because we didn’t deserve to lose today.”
The Huskies had the first chance of the contest as junior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) fired high from near the six-yard box in the eighth minute. Senior Sean Totsch (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) made a run past three Bronco defenders before finding Kannah at the far post, but his effort went high.
NIU (4-13-0, 0-5-0 MAC) got on the board first in the 16th minute on a goal by Stevenson. The senior from Falkirk, Scotland posted up a defender on the left edge of the six-yard box, then turned the defender and slipped a shot past Bronco goalkeeper Chase Rau to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. The goal was Stevenson’s fourth of the season and the 16th of his NIU career.
Three minutes later Western Michigan (8-7-1, 4-0-1 MAC) had its first chance of the contest as Edu Jimenez hit a rising shot that redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) tipped over the crossbar for a corner kick.
NIU nearly doubled its advantage in the 35th minute. Sophomore Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) sent in a cross that deflected to Stevenson, his shot was just tipped around the post and out of play by Rau and the Huskies took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Neither team created a clear scoring opportunity in the second 45 minutes until the Broncos leveled the match in the 74th minute. Hunter Vandenboom sent in a cross from the left side that Dome Hunter slid past Glaeser to even the match.
With the match tied, the Huskies and Broncos appeared headed for overtime as the two teams failed to create another shot until the final minute when Western Michigan got the game-winner. Hunter and Oliver Mayer connected a pair of quick passes through midfield to Vandenboom who collected the ball 15 yards from goal and beat Glaeser to give the Broncos the comeback victory.
NIU will close its 2013 season Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Huskies host Buffalo on Senior Night at the NIU Soccer Complex. Game time against the Bulls is scheduled for 6 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.