TIFFIN, Ohio—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-10-2, 2-9-1 GLIAC) earned a 2-1 upset victory over Tiffin University (8-7-3, 6-4-2 GLIAC) Tuesday afternoon in their first postseason match in program history. The Wildcats advance to the 2017 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals with the victory.
The Wildcat offense took nearly 25 minutes to find a rhythm taking just two shots during the span, while the Dragons recorded five. Despite trailing 8-4 in shots at the half, NMU gained the lead in the 34th-minute courtesy of a goal from junior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan).
Freshman defender Isaac Wigermo (Gothenburg, Sweden) received the pass from the corner, tapping it back to Popp. The junior brought the ball back to his right and bent the ball into the upper left corner, just beyond the reach of the TU keeper. The first postseason score in NMU Men's Soccer history is the sixth goal of the year for Popp, while Wigermo earned his second assist of the season.
Early in the second half, Tiffin threatened with three corner kicks and a pair of shots in the opening seven-minutes of the half. The second shot in the half for the Dragons went on the scoreboard after hitting post and bouncing into the goal. The score evened the game at one goal each in the 52nd-minute.
With just one combined shot over the next 20 minutes of action, both squads were looking to gain the advantage late. In the 72nd-minute, freshman forward Birkir Baldursson (Kopavogur, Iceland) made a sliding kick from outside the top of the box that slid into the left corner for his fourth goal of the season. The goal allowed the Wildcats to regain the lead late, 2-1.
Three shots in the final 10 minutes were not enough for the Dragons as the Wildcats secured the upset in their first postseason match in the program's two-year history.
Sophomore goalkeeper Filippo Torelli (Parma, Italy) made a pair of saves in the final three minutes, including one that he deflected over the goal as time expired. Torelli finished the match with eight saves, tied for his most during the 2017 season. His season total increased to 58, while his goals-against-average improved to 1.37.
NMU now travels to Midland, Michigan, for their semifinal matchup with two-seed Saginaw Valley State University (12-3-1, 9-2-1 GLIAC). The contest will be played at Northwood University who will host the final three-matches of the event after earning the top-seed in the field. NMU and SVSU will take the field Friday at 10 a.m. The winner of that match will face either Northwood or GLIAC newcomer Davenport University in the championship match on Sunday.