DEKALB, ill. The Northern Illinois University men’s soccer team begins defense of its Mid-American Conference championship on Friday, Sept. 23, when the Huskies travel to Western Michigan. Kickoff against the Broncos is scheduled for 5:00 PM CT.
NIU enters league play with a 3-2-2 overall record after topping Western Illinois, 1-0, on the road last time out (Sept. 17). Enrique Banuelos (Mexico City, Mexico/Virginia) scored the only goal in the 50th minute, his first of the season, while Martin Sanchez (Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy) made two saves while picking up the shutout.
Miguel Maynez Jr. (El Paso, Texas/New Mexico) picked up an assist on Banuelo’s goal against the Leathernecks, he now has three assists on the season, tied for the conference lead.
Conference play has a new look and format in the MAC this season. League Supporters Akron, Bowling Green, NIU and Western Michigan have been joined by affiliate Chicago State to form a five-team league that will play an eight-game, twice-round-robin regular season with the top two teams meeting in a conference final game.
The Broncos bring a 5-1 overall record into Friday’s game after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals. Thomas (Minn.), 4-0, last time out. Western Michigan has posted five straight wins since a season-opening setback at Butler, including wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Dylan Sing and Charlie Sharp each had eight points for the Broncos, Sing had four goals while Sharp had two goals and four assists.
Last season, the Huskies won 3-0 in Kalamazoo (October 2, 2021). Banuelos scored a goal and had two assists in the win, Nick Markanich AND Pepe Martinez also scored in the victory.
Friday’s contest is the second game in a five-game road stretch for the Huskies that continues next Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Wisconsin.