Northern Michigan University opens men’s soccer season at home on Thursday afternoon

Northern Michigan University’s defensive wall of, from left, Lewis Murray, Kevin Hoof, Eric Suess and Nick Metcalfe block the ball in front of Wildcats’ goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe, mostly hidden, late in the first overtime of a GLIAC men’s game against Ashland played at the NMU Soccer Field on Oct. 14. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team opens the season with the first home event at NMU this fall, taking on Southern Indiana at 4 p.m. Thursday at the NMU Soccer Field.

The teams then heads out on the road for a match at Quincy, Illinois, at 1 p.m. Sunday.

These first two games feature online information.

For the Southern Indiana match, see video online at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/nmu/ and live stats at http://nmuwildcats.com/sports/msoc/2019-20/boxscores/20190905_a6ef.xml.

For the Quincy match, live stats will be at https://quhawks.com/sidearmstats/msoc/summary.

Northern Michigan University sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert fields the ball at the close of regulation against Ashland during their GLIAC men's soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field on Oct. 14. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The Wildcats will lean on senior Callum Olpin and junior Ben Hoffman, as they finished tied for second on the team last year with four goals apiece. Juniors Brady Kronenburg, Markus Sandstad and Vegard Ervall also return and look to contribute to an offensive attack that was second in scoring in GLIAC games a year ago.

The Wildcats return three starting defenders who helped guide them to a stretch of five straight shutouts and allowed the second fewest goals in the conference. Anchoring that group are seniors Lewis Murray and Eric Suess and junior Isaac Wigermo.

Six seniors will look to guide the team this season. In addition to Olpin and Hoffman on offense, and Suess and Murray defensively, Sveinn Karlsson and Nick Metcalfe enter their final season as Wildcats this year.

Sophomore goalkeeper Patrick Restum returns for his second season at NMU with four games played a year ago. Restum allowed two goals and picked up two victories in those four matches. Competing with Restum for goalkeeper minutes will be freshman Jackson Bowers and Jonas Vorbau.

NMU returns 10 players who appeared in at least 10 games, with seven starting at least 10. Due to injuries, many more players were forced into new positions as the season progressed. The benefit to this is the fact that many players can now fill multiple roles, allowing for significant depth this year. This returning experience includes two junior midfielders, Arni Eiriksson and Luca Lippert.

Thursday’s contest will be their second matchup. Last season, the Wildcats won 2-0.

This will also be the second meeting in program history Quincy, with NMU winning 3-2 last season.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.