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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Penalties contribute to Men’s Soccer loss

Photo by Lindsey Eaton: Junior Forward Sam Popp breaks past Marygrove College defender for a shot on net in September’s match.

The Northern Michigan University Men’s Soccer team ran into a roadblock trying to seek redemption from their early season losses against two of the top conference opponents.

The Wildcats lost both games on the road to the Northwood University Timberwolves 1-0 last Friday and to the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals 3-1 on Sunday.

“They’re the two top teams in the conference for a reason, especially at their home,” Wildcats head coach David Poggi said. “They’ve been successful this season and they’re difficult to play soccer with.”

Poggi noted the team had a good game plan but, at times, it didn’t work out.

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“There’s certain things in soccer that are what I call complacent, like having a two-goal lead at halftime is sometimes a bad thing,” Poggi said. “If the teams score one goal, then it’s anybody’s game.”

Last Friday at Northwood, both teams started off defensive and conservative. Northwood held the Wildcats to only one shot while they attempted nine shots of their own. Five of the Timberwolves shots were saved by sophomore goalkeeper Filippo Torelli.

NMU’s pace picked up on both offense and defense in the second half. The Wildcats got six shots to finish the game with seven, while holding the hot Timberwolves offense to eight shots.

The second half was much more physical with nine penalty cards handed out along with a red card given to the Northwood bench. The game-deciding goal came at 81:28 off a penalty kick from James Vaughan after a yellow card was issued to Torelli.

Sophomore defender Eric Suess said the team has to be more disciplined during game time.

“I thought the penalties were a little unfair, but as a team, we needed to be more smart about them,” Suess said. “In the second game, we did a better job in knowing that.”

Torelli finished with eight saves and sophomore midfielder Nick Metcalfe had a team-high two shots attempted for goal. Six other NMU players also notched a shot in the contest.

Over in Saginaw Valley, the Wildcats fought with the 10th-ranked Cardinals at the start but fell later in the match. NMU would score early with junior defender Kevin Hoof’s header goal with an assist from sophomore defender Mirko Nufi and midfielder Edgar Astorga at 22:52.

With the Cardinals outshooting the Wildcats 7-4, SVSU’s offensive pressure paid off as Oakley Hangar tied the game just past 41 minutes going into halftime.

SVSU would tighten up and shut down the Wildcats through a majority of the second half. The Cardinals retook the lead as Michael Hamilton kicked in a goal at 57:00. The Wildcats would get their first of four shots with ten minutes remaining to the net from junior forward Sam Popp, but a goal from Cardinals’ Connor Rutz would set the game at 3-1.

Hoof, Nufi and Astorga each had two shot attempts, with Torelli making a pair of saves. Torelli’s two saves brought up his season total up to 28.

“We had a pretty good chance to win that game in Saginaw Valley, but after 40 minutes, we were a little tired,” Suess said.

The team returns home this weekend for conference matchups against the Purdue-Northwest University Pride and Davenport University Panthers.

Poggi said he has a tradition of getting coffee from the same concession stand before every home game from when he was in the pro level and added that he wanted to thank the Simply Superior staff for supplying coffee before matches.

“When I was coaching in the pros, I always go to the same people for coffee at every game,” Poggi said. “I went up to the (concession) staff and told them my story and they said ‘the coffee will be on us,’ and I thank them for that.”

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