#21 Wildcats Shutout Fourth Straight Opponent

#21 Wildcats Shutout Fourth Straight Opponent

ASHLAND, Ohio—No. 21 Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-1-1, 3-0-1) added three points to their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standing with a 1-0 defeat of Ashland University (1-6-1, 0-4-0 GLIAC) Friday evening. The victory pushes the Wildcats' current unbeaten streak to seven matches.  


Neither team was able to find a rhythm offensively in the early going as the first shot on-goal did not come until the 17th-minute of play. It marked the second-consecutive match that the Wildcats struggled to find their chances at the goal in the opening minutes of the contest. The slow start would not last long with NMU gaining the lead near the midway point of the half.


Sophomore forward Ben Hoffman (Petoskey, Michigan) broke the scoreless tie in the 28th minute of play. His header gave the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage after sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen, Germany) sent the ball into the box for his third assist of the season. Junior midfielder Callum Olpin (Norwich, England) also recorded an assist on the score. For Hoffman, it was his third goal in as many games.


Offense slowed again in the second half with each side attempting just one shot on-goal. Ashland got the better of NMU on corners in the half, 3-2, but neither squad was able to capitalize on their offensive opportunities the rest of the way. The Wildcats held on to their 1-0 lead to seal their sixth victory in their last seven matches.

NMU has not lost since the season opener on August 30 and are currently on a program-best seven-match unbeaten streak. During that span, the Wildcats also set a program record for winning streak with five straight victories before finishing in a draw with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on Sunday.


The victory made it four-consecutive matches that the Wildcats have held their opponent without a goal. It has been 402:41 since NMU surrendered a goal with the last opponent goal coming on September 14 versus Davenport University.

Freshman goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany) garnered his fifth straight start and moved to 4-0-1 in the victory. Kliebe has accounted for 338:27 of the Wildcats' current shutout streak and leads the league in a number of goalkeeper categories. He has allowed a GLIAC-low one goal this season, while his .958 save percentage and 0.22 goals against average are both the best-marks in the conference. 


Both teams finished the match with 10 shots, four on-goal, but the Wildcats attempted nine corners to the Eagles' five. Olpin lead the team with three shot attempts in the match, while Lippert and senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) each recorded a pair. Popp and Hoffman recorded half of the Wildcats' shots on-goal with junior defender Lewis Murray (Edinburgh, Scotland) and sophomore defender Brandon DeSmyter (DeWitt, Michigan) recording the other half.


The Wildcats will end their three-match road trip on Sunday when they travel to Saginaw Valley State University. The Cardinals defeated Northwood University Friday evening and are winners of three in a row. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m.