MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University men’s soccer team welcomed Davenport to the NMU soccer fields for its first conference matchup, defeating the Panthers 1-0 with a goal in the 86th minute from Jaziel Sainz de Vilmorin.
The Wildcats improve to 2-2-1 overall, and 1-0 in GLIAC play. The Panthers fall to 1-2-2 overall, and 0-1 in GLIAC play.
Head coach Alex Fatovic had this to say after the Wildcats 1-0 decision:
“What an absolutely fantastic afternoon at the NMU soccer field. 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 Schmit, Niko Scheibal, and the rest of the back line for their gritty effort. However, no rest for the weary, as we have the defending GLIAC champions Saginaw coming here on Sunday at 3. So now we recover and get mentally prepared for another absolute battle. Up the cats!”
- Jaziel Sainz de Vilmorin scored for the Wildcats, his first as a Wildcat
- Fernando Abascal recorded an assist, giving him a team-leading two on the season
- Florian Palmowski made a season-high six saves to secure his third shutout of the season
- Aside from the keeper, Nico Scheibal and Kalvin Glodz both played the full 90 minutes, along with Keegan Schmidt recording 89 minutes
- As a team, the Wildcats were outshot 16-13, including outshot on target 6-3. The Panthers had eight corners to the Wildcats two.
- The Wildcats had three yellow cards to Davenport’s two, but the Panthers recorded 14 fouls to Northern’s nine.
- The Wildcats were flagged for offsides four times to the Panthers one.
How It Happened
Both of the Wildcats closest chances came from Fernando Abascal. In the 33rd minute, Jan Hoffmann was lined up to take a free-kick. He curved it into the box perfectly for Abascal to take a header, but he hit the crossbar and it dropped to a defender who cleared away from danger.
Not two minutes later, an almost identical play happened. Hoffmann was lined up closer to the goal than previous, but another curving ball into the box landed on the head of Abascal in the same spot as previous, but once again he found the woodwork, and the score remained even.
Davenport came out of the gate with a chance early to start the second half, as a well-delivered ball cleared the Wildcat line and landed on the foot of Vitalis Takawira Jr. who streaked toward goal. His right-footed attempt was no match for an outstretched Florian Palmowski, who dove across to keep the match scoreless.
The Wildcats were next to generate a chance, as it was Fernando Abascal who received a cross into the box on his left foot. He was able to get a shot off, though not as much as he would have liked, with his left foot. The keeper was stunned, but the ball rolled just past the left post.
Davenport was awarded with a penalty kick, and Vitalis Takawira Jr. stepped up to take the shot in the 78th minute. He struck it with the right foot but rang it off the woodwork, and the score remained 0-0.
Fernando Abascal made up for his missed chances early in the game, as he received a clearance ball and gained a head of speed on the attack in the 86th minute. He beat his defender and fed Jaziel Sainz de Vilmorin into the box. Jaziel took the touch on his left foot and made no mistake to elevate it over the keeper to give the Wildcats the late lead.
The Wildcats would hold on to the 1-0 lead for the final minutes, securing a win in its first conference competition of the 2023 schedule.
The Wildcats remain home for the weekend, taking on Saginaw Valley State on Sunday, September 17, for its second conference match of the 2023 campaign.