DEKALB – In a steady downpour, the Northern Illinois University men’s soccer team fell to UW Milwaukee, 1-0, on Wednesday night at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex. A 74th minute goal from Laurie Bell lifted the Panthers to the victory and allowed Milwaukee to retain the LeWang Cup.
“The conditions were miserable,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “Neither team looked like they wanted to be here. It was going to come down to one error because neither team had any initiative to go make something happen, to create anytime. We made the error, they punished it and they won the game.”
NIU (4-11-0) had the first look at goal in the third minute as senior James Stevenson tested Milwaukee goalkeeper Liam Anderson from distance, but the Panther goalkeeper held the shot.
The Huskies had another chance in the seventh minute off a corner kick. Freshman Richard Hall’s corner found senior Sean Totsch at the backpost but his volley went wide.
In the 41st minute, Milwaukee (12-2-2) had its best effort of the first half. Luke Goodnetter tested redshirt sophomore Andrew Glaeser from distance, but the Huskie goalkeeper did well to get down low and push the ball out for a corner kick as the game went to the intermission scoreless.
After the break, the Huskies had a bright start as junior Andrew Palumbo had a chance in the 58th minute. Junior Isaac Kannah sprung Palumbo on a through ball but Anderson was up to the task to keep the game scoreless.
Palumbo and Kannah connected again in the 60th minute as Palumbo found Kannah at the back post, but the Plymouth, Minn., native was unable to get his chance on target.
The Panthers broke the deadlock in the 74th minute as Bell scored his 11th goal of the season. NIU was unable to clear the ball inside its box and it fell to Bell who struck a shot from 20 yards past Glaeser and into the net.
NIU pushed for an equalizer and had its best chance in the 89th minute on a free kick from 25 yards, but the Panther wall blocked the free kick and Milwaukee held on for the 1-0 win.
The Huskies will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 2, when they travel to Hartwick for their final regular season road match of the season. Game time against the Hawks is slated for 2 p.m. CT.