After being reduced to 10 men in the 60th minute due to a red card, the NIU men’s soccer team fell, 1-0, to Santa Clara on a 68th minute goal by Max Ornstil. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) made four saves in goal for the Huskies.
“If we had come out in the first half the way that we started the second half it probably would not have been 0-0 (at halftime) and everything would have been different,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “The biggest thing for us right now is we have to put in 90-minute performances, we have had a lot of very good 45-minute performances. When we put together 90 minutes we are a good team, but when you are only at your best for 45 minutes it is hard to get results.
“Credit to the guys that played the last 30 minutes, those guys gave a warrior’s performance. It’s unfortunate that (Santa Clara) got through but the goal they scored was a good goal. Santa Clara is a hard team to play against, they are very good at what they do and they have a couple of guys that can make plays.”
Santa Clara (3-1-0) had the first chance in the fifth minute as Dylan Autran forced Glaeser into a diving save. Following a Broncos corner kick, Autran had the chance on goal, looking for the back post but Glaeser was able to deflect the ball out for another Santa Clara corner.
In the 25th minute, the Broncos had another opportunity created from a corner kick. Autran collected the ball toward the back post and looked to have an open goal but Glaeser scrambled across to make a save. The rebound fell right back to the feet of Autran but he put the second chance over the top of the goal as the match remained scoreless.
NIU (1-2-1) earned four corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes but were unable to challenge Santa Clara goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.
The Huskies created the first chance of the second half in the 48th minute as senior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) knocked a ball into the path of sophomore Albert Levett (Southend-on-Sea, England/Belfairs High) whose shot from 20 yards was just wide of the post to the right of McIntosh.
Neither team was able to create any clear-cut chances in the next 12 minutes before the Huskies were reduced to 10 men as senior Jayson LeSeth (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West) was shown a straight red card in the 60th minute. Up a man, Santa Clara was able to create more opportunities for the go-ahead goal.
Glaeser came up with another save in the 66th minute to keep the match scoreless. A Santa Clara cross came in from Glaeser’s left and made it all the way to Autran at the back post. Glaeser came out, cut down the angle and was able to make a save to keep the match level.
Santa Clara went in front in the 68th minute on a goal by Ornstil. Autran combined with Ornstil to play him in behind the NIU defense and Ornstil slipped a shot inside the post from 10 yards to give Santa Clara a 1-0 lead that would prove to be the difference in the contest.
The Huskies will return to action at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, when they make their regular season home debut as they host 24th-ranked UIC at the NIU Soccer Complex.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.