CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team fell behind 2-0 early, but battled back to force overtime before falling, 3-2, to Evansville on Friday in the Cincinnati Bearcat Soccer Classic. Junior Isaac Kannah and freshman Cody Witkowski each scored for the Huskies. Senior Miles Herbert made five saves in goal for NIU.
“We are disappointed, and that isn’t to take anything away from Evansville because they did some things very well,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “But I thought that a lot of our guys didn’t show up today, which is disappointing because we had a good week of training. There have been a lot of things that we have done well in the last week or two that made me excited about today.
“We dug ourselves a pretty big hole by giving up two goals in the first 15 minutes. We did well to get those back before the half, we were probably on top of them a little bit more in the second half, but when you did yourself a hole that big it is hard to come back from.”
The Huskies fell behind inside the first minute of the contest as Jared Robinson for Evansville headed in a corner kick from Faik Hajderovic to give the Purple Aces the early advantage.
After the goal, NIU (1-2) began to play its way back into the match as junior Andrew Palumbo forced a save from Evansville goalkeeper Eric Teppen in the ninth minute and junior Sanel Hasanovic forced another stop two minutes later.
Evansville (1-1-1) doubled its advantage in the 13th minute on a goal by Charlie Macias on the counter. Macias took a pass from Robinson and was able to beat Herbert to give the Purple Aces an early 2-0 lead.
NIU quickly answered back with a goal from Kannah just two minutes later. Palumbo played the ball Kannah who buried his effort past Teppen for his second goal of the season. The goal was Kannah’s second of the season while Palumbo picked up the first point of his NIU career.
The Huskies were level in the 27th minute when Witkowski took advantage of a misplay by the Evansville goalkeeper and scored his first career goal to even the contest, 2-2.
After the intermission, NIU had the better of play, outshooting Evansville 7-5 in the second 45 minutes, forcing four saves from Teppen and earning three corners to just one for the Purple Aces, but neither team could find the net and the Huskies would go to overtime for the first time this season.
Evansville scored the game-winner in the third minute of overtime on the first shot by either team in the extra session. Hajderovic beat Herbert from 30 yards out to give the Purple Aces the victory.
Northern Illinois will conclude play at the Cincinnati Bearcat Soccer Classic on Sunday, Sept. 8, when the Huskies face No. 14 Saint Louis. Game time against the Billikens is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT.