NMU men strikers close out year with loss in GLIAC Tournament

MIDLAND — The Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team recently completed the best regular season in program history and made the GLIAC Tournament for the second straight year.

However, the Wildcats were unable to extend their season any further as they fell to Northwood 1-0 in the first round of the tournament Tuesday afternoon.

The two teams remained in a scoreless tie until the 60th minute when the Timberwolves’ Austin Hobbs scored off a deflection in front of the net.

NMU had two good chances to tie the game in the second half, but Sam Popp and Anthony Sweier couldn’t put the ball past Northwood goalkeeper Corbin Cecchini.

Northern had to weather Northwood’s offensive storm in the first half as it was heavily outshot, but held the Timberwolves to only two shots on net. Sweier and Kaffie Kurz had the best scoring opportunities in the first half, but neither put one in the back of the net.

In the second half, Hobbs got Northwood on the scoreboard by being in the right spot at the right time. A Timberwolves player sent a shot on net, but the Wildcats blocked the attempt. However, the ball went straight to Hobbs, who sent it past NMU goalie Valentin Kliebe. The freshman goalie finished with four saves.

Kliebe wrapped up his season with 67 saves, which is an NMU’s season record. He also set a school record with three shutouts along with a combined shutout with teammate Patrick Restum.

Even though, he didn’t score in the finale, Popp also set two single-season offensive records for the Wildcats with 10 goals and 23 points, and is also NMU’s career leader in both categories. He’s also tied for the career assists record with fellow senior Nick Harenda.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.