Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team splits pair of 1-0 contests at home

Northern Michigan University’s Jaziel Sainz de Vilmorin, center, gets possession of the ball and tries to score before halftime during a game played against Quincy at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 3. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Main hed: Wildcat men split pair of 1-0 contests

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team opened its GLIAC season with the most traditional of soccer scores, a pair of 1-0 decisions in games played at the NMU Soccer Field on Friday and Sunday.

The Wildcats defeated Davenport 1-0 before falling to Saginaw Valley State by that same score to start the conference season at 1-1 as they are 2-3-1 overall.

Northern hits the road for four straight games over the next two weekends. The Wildcats travel this weekend for a pair of GLIAC contests, going to Hammond, Indiana, to face Purdue Northwest on Friday afternoon and to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to play Wisconsin-Parkside on Sunday afternoon.

The following weekend, NMU plays its final nonconference contest at Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Sept. 28 and returns to conference play at St. Cloud State in Minnesota on Oct. 1.

Here is a roundup of this past weekend’s results, as reported by NMU Sports Information:


NMU 1, Davenport 0

On Friday afternoon, overtime looked like a distinct possibility until the Wildcats’ Jaziel Sainz de Vilmorin scored his first collegiate goal with 4:35 remaining in regulation by lifting the ball with his left foot over Panthers netminder Bobby Curran.

The play developed when teammate Fernando Abascal made up for missed chances from earlier in the game when he received a clearance ball and gained a head of speed on the attack, according to NMU SI. Abascal beat his defender and fed de Vilmorin into the box, and he took the touch on his left foot and made no mistake to elevate it over the keeper.

“What an absolutely fantastic afternoon at the NMU Soccer Field,” Northern head coach Alex Fatovic said in the NMU SI account. “I’m honestly not surprised, this is the quality and effort this team is capable of, but for us to get three big points against a tough, well-coached Davenport team in this fashion is just what we needed.

“I’m so proud of Jaziel Sainz for making his first career goal a game-winner, as well as Keegan Schmidt, Niko Scheibal and the rest of the back line for their gritty effort.”

Abascal collected his second assist, the first Wildcats player to accomplish that this season, as goalkeeper Florian Palmowski made a season-high six saves for his third shutout of the young season.

Despite making the only dent in the scoreboard, NMU was outshot 16-13 in total shots and 6-3 in shots on goal. DU also had eight corner kicks to just two for Northern.

There were some other good chances to score before the late goal went in.

Abascal had both for the Wildcats. In the 33rd minute, teammate Jan Hoffmann lined up a free kick, curving the ball into the box perfectly for Abascal to take a header, but it hit the crossbar and to a defender, who cleared it away.

That play almost exactly repeated itself not even two minutes later. Hoffmann was lined up closer, but his curving ball landed on Abascal’s head at his previous spot and bounced off the woodwork and away.

To start the second half, Davenport delivered the ball to the Panthers’ Vitalis Takawira Jr. as he was streaking toward the goal. His right-footed attempt was thwarted by Palmowski, who stretched wide across the goalmouth.

Abascal got another chance after receiving a cross into the box on his left foot, but his shot rolled just past the left post.

The Panthers then received a penalty kick and Takawira took the shot in the 78th minute, but the shot rang off the woodwork.


Saginaw Valley State 1, NMU 0

On Sunday afternoon, as much as Northern enjoyed the thrill of the victory two days earlier, they had to suffer the agony of defeat.

SVSU scored the lone goal late in the first half as the Wildcats put together furious rallies in the game’s final five minutes.

Near the very end, NMU’s Cian Tunney had a solid strike from just outside the goal area that reached Cardinals netminder Jack Simms, who made the stop.

“Obviously disappointed in the end result (Sunday),” Fatovic said in a report on that game. “We let a massive opportunity slip through our hands, however I’m not disappointed in our performance at all. Our boys came to play, stuck to the game plan and possessed very well against the defending champs.

“The difference was they finished their one clear moment, and we didn’t.

“Now we must focus on recovery and get ready for an absolutely critical road trip at PNW and Parkside.”

Tunney and SVSU’s Jonathan Monney were the only players with two shots on goal, while Hoffman had three total shots and the team’s only other shot on goal.

Simms finished with three saves and Palmowski four.

The Cardinals finished with a 10-7 total shots edge and 5-3 in shots on goal as each team had two corner kicks.

Saginaw scored on what was considered the best chance by either team all game when Monney converted with 5:15 remaining in the opening half.

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


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