Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team loses heartbreaker to nationally ranked Saginaw Valley State in last minute

Northern Michigan University freshman Tomasso Lami works the ball against Indianapolis in a men’s soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 4. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team gave all that No. 5-ranked Saginaw Valley State could handle on Friday afternoon before the Cardinals emerged with a 1-0 victory at the NMU Soccer Field.

The game remained scoreless until the final minute, when nationally ranked SVSU’s Chidie Nnolim found daylight in front of the Northern net and knocked in the day’s only goal.

“Absolutely heartbroken for our boys today,” Coach Alex Fatovic said in an NMU Sports Information release about the game. “They put in a top-level shift today against one of the best teams in the country and proved again we can play with the best.

“Saginaw (Valley) State is very good and showed why they deserve their top-five ranking. However, in a match where we pulled all the right levers today to make things difficult and to create enough chances to win, we again are on the wrong side of a very tough lesson.

“We know moving forward, nobody is going to want to play Northern Michigan, so now it’s time to take advantage of nine days between matches, get healthy, and get ready for another top-25 opponent in (Wisconsin-)Parkside.”

That next game is also at home on Sunday, Oct. 2, against the Rangers.

On Friday, SVSU held narrow advantages of 8-6 in total shots and 3-2 on shots on goal, while also getting four of the five corner kick opportunities.

Neither team had much in the way of quality scoring chances early on, though the Cardinals had a free kick near the box in the 37th minute that Wildcats goalkeeper Alex Weaver made a highlight-like diving save on right before the goalline, according to NMU SI.

At halftime, SVSU held a shots edge of 5-2 and also had the only corner kick as Weaver made both saves.

In the second half, NMU’s Keegan Schmidt had a nice window in the 62nd minute from just outside the box, but his left-footed attempt sailed left of the goal. Then just a few minutes later, Northern had a 3-on-1 opportunity but was unable to produce a shot as the ball, defenders and SVSU goalkeeper collapsed in front of a congested net.

Regulation looked to end in a scoreless draw until the Cards got their goal with 38 seconds remaining.

Freshmen Jorge Uriarte and Tommaso Lami had NMU’s shots on goal.

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


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