The NIU men’s soccer team opened the 2014 regular season with a scoreless draw against Hofstra on Friday afternoon at the Lakeside Classic.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) made a pair of saves while recording a shutout as the Huskies had the better of play but could not breakdown the Hofstra defense.
“I was disappointed in the quality of our soccer,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “I thought we were pretty poor on the day. But as I told the guys, Hofstra is a very difficult team to play against. They are strong, they are physical, the pump balls forward and their entire team is six foot-plus. In the last year or two we would have lost that game, but I was pleased with our spirit, our fight and our battle mentality.”
The first chance went to the Pride in the sixth minute as Maid Memic collected the ball at the top of the six-yard box and pushed his shot wide of the post.
Hofstra had the early edge in possession but the Huskies got on the front foot around the quarter of an hour mark and senior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) had a chance to put the Huskies in front in the 19th minute. Junior Bertrand Gaschot (Austin, Texas/Westwood) played the ball to Kannah just outside the top of the 18 and the Plymouth, Minn., native fired a low shot that Hofstra goalkeeper Patric Pray got down to palm away.
NIU continued to press the game and created another chance in the 27th minute as Kannah kept the ball in play near the end line and found sophomore Derek Ott (Cross Plains, Wis./Middleton) 12 yards from goal. Ott’s shot was stopped by Pray and Gaschot followed up, knocking the ball away from the goalkeeper and into the net but he was called for a foul.
In the 35th minute, Kannah had another opportunity, whistling a shot from 30 yards that beat Pray but went just wide of the post.
The final chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Hofstra as Maid Memic unleashed a tailing shot from 20 yards that went just high and wide of the post to the right of Glaeser.
NIU went right back on the attack in the second half as sophomore Chris Paton (Glasgow, Scotland/Uddingston Grammar School) fired a free kick from 25 yards that forced a save just a minute into the second 45.
In the 88th minute, sophomore Cody Witkowski (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) got forward down the wing for NIU and had a look at goal, but his shot went high as the game remained scoreless. A minute later, Hofstra went down to 10 men as Jon Fraser received his second yellow card of the match.
As the match went into extra time, NIU had a chance in the 99th minute as Paton’s opportunity from the top of the 18-yard box was held by Pray.
In the second half of overtime, Kannah made a quick turn toward goal inside the box and took a shot that forced Pray into another save in the 105th minute.
With less than a minute remaining, Hofstra earned a free kick 20 yards from goal but the attempt hit the NIU wall and the match finished scoreless.
“It was an aggressive, physical, high-tempo game and we are going to have to get guys recovered physically, and they have to get themselves recovered mentally, to come back Sunday and get a result,” Luzzi said.
NIU will conclude play in the Lakeside Classic at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, when it plays Quinnipiac in Evanston, Ill.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.