Soccer defeats Ashland on Senior Day

%E2%80%98CATS+SHUTOUT+ASHLAND%E2%80%94Freshman+Francisco+Espinoza+kicks+a+ball+during+a+regular+season+home+game+for+the+Wildcats.+Photo+courtesy+of+NMU+Athletics.

‘CATS SHUTOUT ASHLAND—Freshman Francisco Espinoza kicks a ball during a regular season home game for the Wildcats. Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics.

Sadie Brink

The first group of seniors on the Wildcats Men’s Soccer team walked off of their home field for the final time in winning fashion on Sunday, Nov. 3, knocking off Ashland University (AU) 2-0.

Senior Luca Lippert ended his collegiate career scoring the first goal for the Wildcats with 21:13 left in the game. Junior Keegan Goetz followed that up by scoring the second and final goal of the game with 1:50 remaining in the game, securing the win for NMU on Senior Day. 

Head Coach David Poggi talked about his team getting the win for the seniors.

“It caps off the three or four years played here for those guys, they no longer play at home,” Poggi said. “It’s something they will miss but also treasure.” 

AU gave NMU a battle, but the Wildcats held on for the big conference win.

“It was a tight game, we created multiple chances but just couldn’t finish them all, which makes it really inefficient,” Poggi said. “However, credit to them, they don’t really give you much time on the ball. We knew it would be a game where whoever scored first was most likely walking away with a win.”

NMU’s seniors walked off their home field for the final time in their college career. Lippert talked about some of his favorite moments over the course of his career.

“Just being able to start the program, then going into our second year getting the upset against Tiffin who was ranked 12th in the nation at the time to advance into the conference semifinals,” Lippert said. “Another memory that sticks out is just being able to end with a win at home.”  

Senior Eric Suess also commented on some of the memories that stick out to him. 

“Just traveling and playing with the team is always special, along with senior day as well,” Suess said. 

Lippert reflected on when he was a young player in the program, and gave some advice to some of the young guys currently on team or who are coming in next year as freshman.

“Just have fun, don’t worry too much about the minutes you get your first year,” Lippert said. “Just try and get the best out of it and get the full experience because the seasons are short.” 

Even though Poggi wants to acknowledge what that group has done, he said he wants to extend their careers deep into the GLIAC Tournament and beyond.

“This is very bitter sweet to lose them, however they aren’t done yet,” Poggi said. “They are all very different with the talents they have. They will be missed but hopefully never forgotten.”

Though the season isn’t over yet, Poggi hopes that the young guys build on the lessons they learned after this group of seniors leaves. 

“Hopefully they are able to pick up the slack, and will hopefully be able to step right in,” Poggi said. “You learn more with playing with guys then you do from coaches. Lessons they learned they come from players more than they do from any other coach, that is really what created the culture here.”

Moving forward, the Wildcats have its final regular season game on Thursday, Nov. 7 against the Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers, who are in first place in the GLIAC standings. 

The team is battling through injuries right before the GLIAC Tournament begins, but Poggi said that he thinks his team will  persevere.

“We have a few injuries that have to heal up before the tournament, so we will look to go out and keep ourselves healthy,” Poggi said. “This is a team that can rise to the occasion, and they also never give up. If we keep working hard the playoffs will treat us well.”

As the seniors look to wrap up their college careers at Northern, they will look to end on a high note against the Rangers. Kick-off is at 2:30 p.m.