Men’s soccer falls to Saginaw, continues to push through midseason gauntlet


Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics

PAST VICTORIES – The NMU Men’s Soccer team celebrates after scoring a goal in a game last fall. The Wildcats lost to Saginaw Valley last Friday, but Coach Fatovic is confident in the team’s potential.

Nathan Kwapisz, Sports Writer

NMU Men’s Soccer fell 0-1 to Saginaw Valley on Sept. 23 as Saginaw was able to score a goal in the final minute to take the win. Coach Alex Fatovic plans to make corrections to find more success as they look ahead to the second half of the season.

“It is a tough lesson for us to understand that you have to go 90 minutes, even though it was 89 minutes and 20 seconds, so we switched off for that half a second and lost the mark,” Fatovic said.

Fatovic understands that it is really hard to take a loss like that to a top 25 opponent and noticed how the team held themselves in a tense situation. He knows holding a sharp Saginaw offense to a limited number of chances to score is impressive.

“They did not concede,” Fatovic said. “They did really well on Friday, holding down a team that had scored three to four goals a game, for five straight games.”

Fatovic and the team noted that anything can happen during any match of the season. Fatovic is impressed with the way the team is responding to the loss and is using that as motivation for the second half of the season.

“Sometimes you pull the right levers, and you lose, and sometimes you play terribly, and you win, and that is the brutal nature of the game,” Fatovic said.

The main factor Fatovic wants to focus on is the mentality to finish games and to maintain fitness throughout the team. The team will be working hard the second half of the season in order to correct some of the things that win games, as the Wildcats have proven that they can hang with the best of them. 

“One thing that I look at is fitness,” Fatovic said. “You have played 90 minutes. You play for almost 40 minutes straight for the second half when you are already gassed.” 

Fatovic is happy with the state of his team and proud of the recruiting factor. The coaching staff has recruited eight new players that have already made an impact on the team. The team is continuing to mature as the season progresses and Fatovic can see the potential in the team.

“We can actually train rather than maintain because we do not have two games a weekend and we are not playing on Sunday and recovering until Wednesday,” Fatovic said. “So, these two weeks we can actually push on and try to improve on fitness, which is really rare midseason.”

The Wildcats will be looking to work out the small mistakes in order to push through the second half of the season. This week the team will be at home and is looking ahead to Parkside University as they face another test with a quality opponent.

“We have got another crack at it on Sunday, that is the beautiful part about soccer, there is always another day,” Fatovic said. “We have got Parkside on Sunday, so it is another opportunity for us to continue to get better and show everybody that we can compete for this thing.”