Wildcats Fall in Regular Season Finale, Look to GLIAC Tournament

Wildcats Fall in Regular Season Finale, Look to GLIAC Tournament

MIDLAND, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-5-5, 3-4-5 GLIAC) dropped their regular season finale, 2-1, to Northwood University (7-8-1, 5-6-1 GLIAC) Friday afternoon on the road. Despite the loss, the Wildcats are still guaranteed to finish the year with a .500 record or better for the first time in program history.


Each side attempt four shots in the opening 25 minutes of action with the Wildcats putting a pair of chances on-goal. Senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) and sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen. Germany) took a shot on-goal in the opening half.

The Timberwolves took a one-goal lead into the halftime intermission after netting a scored in the 27th-minute.


Not long after the start of the second half, Lippert knotted the match at one goal each on his first collegiate goal. The score came in the 52nd-minute after Popp curled a free kick just in front of the net where Lippert was able to send it into the back of the net.

Popp was credited with an assist on the score, his third of the season. With 23 points in 2018, Popp continues to push his own school-record for points in a season and career. In three seasons, he has recorded 16 goals and 40 points.


The tie continued for nearly 10 minutes before the Timberwolves regained lead. NU took a 2-1 advantage in the 64th minute on a free kick of their own. Their lead would last the rest of the match with falling in their regular season finale.

With the regular season coming to a close, the Wildcats will not prepare for the GLIAC Tournament. It is the second-consecutive season NMU has advanced to the conference tournament after the team earned their first-ever postseason victory a year ago in the quarterfinal round. 


Freshman goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany) made three saves in the match, including a save on a penalty kick late in the contest. He now has 63 saves on the season and a .818 save percentage, both of which are second-best among GLIAC goalkeepers. His. 1.04 goals against average is also second-best in the conference. 


Ending the regular season with a 6-5-5 overall record, the Wildcats have guaranteed that they will finish the 2018 campaign with a record at or above .500 for the first time in program history. After reaching the six-win mark a season ago, NMU matched their highest win total since beginning play three seasons ago.


Currently, the Wildcats finished the season fifth in the conference standings with 14 points. The top two teams in the league will receive a first-round bye in the tournament, while the third and fourth seeded squads will host quarterfinal matches against the fifth and sixth ranked teams. 

NMU will take on Northwood again on Tuesday afternoon in a battle of the four and five seeds. Purdue University-Northwest will host Ashland in the other quarterfinal match with the winners of each contest traveling to Saginaw Valley St. where the semifinals and championship will be held.