The NIU men’s soccer team played even with 17th-ranked Marquette for 80 minutes Saturday night before two goals in 50 seconds propelled the Golden Eagles to a 2-0 victory over the Huskies at the NIU Soccer Complex.
“Marquette is a good team,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “They are deserving of their top-20 ranking. They don’t give away a lot, but even with that, we hit the crossbar and we had two or three other golden chances when it was still 0-0, it we put one of those away it is a different game.
“I thought on the whole there wasn’t a lot of difference in the game. We had more legit chances; they put their two half-chances away. Credit to them, they are a hard team to beat and they are going to continue to win games because they are a good team.”
NIU (2-3-2) had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute as sophomore Albert Levett (Southend-on-Sea, England/Belfairs High) rang a shot off the bar. Collecting the ball 30 yards from goal, Levett unleashed a shot that tailed away from a helpless Charlie Lyon in goal for Marquette, but the ball hit the bar where the post and crossbar come together and the Golden Eagles escaped still scoreless.
The first look at goal for Marquette (5-2-0) came in the 18th minute as C. Nortey’s header off a free kick went wide.
NIU controlled much of the tempo of the first half and held a good portion of the possession but neither team created much in the way of scoring chances. The Huskies had the final opportunity to break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes as sophomore Derek Ott (Cross Plains, Wis./Middleton) knocked a ball down to senior Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) from well outside the box and his shot went high wide.
Neither goalkeeper was called into action in the first half but it took less than two minutes into the second 45 minutes for Lyon to make a save, collecting a soft shot from inside the box by junior Charlie Oliver (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South).
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser (Walla Walla, Wash./Walla Walla/Oregon State) made his first stop in the 55th minute on a shot by Nick Parianos and was forced to make a spectacular stop in the 59th minute, tipping a dipping shot by Coco Navarro over the bar and out for a corner kick.
Oliver had another opportunity five minutes later but the cross from Kannah was just behind him and he was unable to get much on the shot.
Kannah was again the provider in the 65th minute as his good hold-up play allowed sophomore Chris Paton (Glasgow, Scotland/Uddingston Grammar School) a chance. Paton tried to sneak a low shot inside the back post but his effort was just wide as the game remained scoreless.
Paton had another chance in the 74th minute as a low cross from freshman Len Heinson (Wuppertal, Germany/Carl-Fuhlrott Gymnasium) popped up in the air to Paton near the edge of the six-yard box, but the Glasgow, Scotland native wasn’t able to get enough power on his header to trouble Lyon.
Less than a minute later Navarro had another look at goal for Marquette as his dipping shot from near the top of the box went just high.
The Golden Eagles finally broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute as Jack Alberts scored his second goal of the season. Marquette was a free kick 45 yards from goal and Louis Bennett II played the ball inside the six-yard box where an unmarked Alberts was able to head home the opening goal.
Just 50 seconds later, Navarro doubled Marquette’s advantage as the Golden Eagles won a throw-in near the corner flag. The initial throw went inside the box and was nodded back out toward Navarro at an angle 12 yards from goal. His shot went through of cluster of bodies in front and found the back of the net.
The Golden Eagles had a couple more opportunities in the final 10 minutes with the Huskies pushing to get back into the game but it ended 2-0.
Glaeser made two saves in goal for the Huskies while Lyon made three stops for his fifth consecutive shutout for Marquette.
NIU will return to action on Tuesday, Sept. 23, when the Huskies begin a three-game road trip at Milwaukee. Game time against the Panthers is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s soccer and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.