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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: vs Northern Illinois

The Golden Eagles wrap up a three game homestand before starting Big East action next week.

That's Diesel, the NIU live mascot.
That's Diesel, the NIU live mascot.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Since falling in overtime to Oregon State to open the season, Marquette hasn't lost since.  They've won three of their four contests since then, including a win over a Nebraska-Omaha team that was ranked #22 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll at the time.  The lone draw in the pile was in the Milwaukee Cup, and when coming from behind to draw with the Panthers means keeping the trophy for one more year, I'll take it.

This match will be Marquette's last one before the start of Big East play, but there are still non-conference matches to be played.  In between the start of league action, Marquette will work in road trips to major rivals in Notre Dame and Wisconsin.  The match with the Irish should be particularly interesting, as Notre Dame is currently undefeated and ranked #2 in the country in the NSCAA top 25.

Kelmend Islami has been a explosion of offense for the Golden Eagles after sitting out all of the 2014 season.  He has already recorded more goals (3) than he had in any previous season, and he's just one goal away from doubling his career total.  His seven points on the season match a career best for any other single season as well.  While that all gets big thumbs ups from us, hopefully it can translate into points for C. Nortey.  The redshirt senior striker has just one goal and one assist on the season thus far, and if he can use defenses attempting to key on Islami in order to get himself free for a few more golden opportunities, Marquette might find themselves on track to get back to the NCAA tournament.

Match #6: vs Northern Illinois (3-1-0)

When: Friday, September 18, 2015, at 7:05pm
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Home matches get FREE video streaming, plus live stats.
Special Promotions: Kids get in FREE with their completed scorecards from Fan Fest OR their voucher from camps during the summer.  Students get DOUBLE Fanatics points!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

This is not the most stellar 3-1 record that you'll ever see.  A double OT win over Green Bay, and 1-0 wins this past weekend against Florida Atlantic and Stetson.  The loss was a rapture of excitement, relatively, as they fell to College of Charleston by a score of 3-1.  There was supposed to be a match against Furman in there somewhere, but it was canceled, but hey: Clint Dempsey's alma mater or not, that's not lighting the world on fire.

I suppose this shouldn't really come as a surprise.  NIU was picked to finish last in the six team MAC this season after going 3-9-5 a year ago.  It's worth mentioning at this point that NIU hasn't scored a goal against Marquette since 2011, when Jayson LeSeth beat David Check in the 107th minute for a 1-0 win.  It's been Shutout City for the Golden Eagles in their two matches since then.

Luke Read leads Northern Illinois in goals with two this season, both of which were the game winners in NIU's matches last weekend.  His outburst earned him MAC Player of the Week honors, along with being named to both the College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week.  Andrew Glaeser handles the netminding duties for the Huskies this season, and as you've probably figured out by now, he's been incredibly stingy so far.  His goals-against average is a minuscule 0.72, although he is only stopping 63% of the shots on frame.