Wildcats Hit the Road with Regular Season Winding Down

Wildcats Hit the Road with Regular Season Winding Down

MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-3-4, 3-2-4 GLIAC) will end their 2018 regular season with three matches on the road beginning with a pair this weekend. On Friday, the Wildcats will take on Purdue University-Northwest at 2:30 p.m. before heading to Davenport University Sunday for a noon kick-off. The final match of the regular season will place on October 26 at Northwood University.

  FOLLOW ALONG

Fans can follow both contests this weekend using the links below. These links can also be found on the team schedule or composite calendar at NMUwildcats.com.

Friday vs. Purdue-Northwest
Twitter Updates: https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats
Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2xtblRk
Live Video: https://bit.ly/2hkoqqf 

Sunday vs. Northwood
Twitter Updates: https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats
Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2ykee6Z
Live Video: https://bit.ly/2pWQTDA

  WEEKEND RECAP

The Wildcats played to a pair of 2-2 draws over the weekend with Saginaw Valley State University and Ashland University. In Friday's match, NMU jumped out to an early lead courtesy of senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan), but the Cardinals took a 2-1 advantage early in the second half. With around 15 minutes to play, Popp netted his second goal of the match to force overtime and the eventual draw.

Sunday's match was Senior Day for the Wildcats who honored the first group of seniors in program history. Popp netted another early goal with sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen, Germany) scoring his second goal of the season just seven minutes later.

  GLIAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Popp scored three of the four Wildcat goals over the weekend to guide the team to a pair of draws. He netted both goals in Friday's match, including a late score that would force overtime and the eventual draw. On Sunday, Popp netted the first goal in the opening minutes to record his fifth and sixth points on the weekend. 

With his second goal on Friday, Popp broke his own school-record for goals in a single season with seven. His performance on Sunday pushed the same record to eight goals with three matches to play. The same goal also gave him his 16th point of the season which also broke his own single season record. He now has 18 total points during the 2018 campaign.

Popp is the third Wildcat to earn a weekly GLIAC award this season after junior midfielder Callum Olpin (Norwich, England) and freshman goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau Germany) did so on earlier in the year. Overall, it is the sixth time in program history that an NMU Men's Soccer student-athlete has earned the weekly honor.

   STAT LEADERS

A pair of Wildcats have surpassed the double-digit points mark with Popp leading the way with 18 points. He also leads the team with eight goals, while Olpin has 12 points and leads the Wildcats with four assists. Junior defender Edgar Astorga (Chicago, Illinois), senior forward Nic Harenda (Waukesha, Wisconsin), and Lippert also have three assists.

Olpin is one of two Wildcats with four goals, the second-most on the team. He also leads the squad with three game-winning goals on the season. Sophomore forward Ben Hoffman (Petoskey, Michigan) is the other student-athlete to net four scores in 2018.

  DEFENSIVE PRESSURE

NMU has improved significantly on the defensive end in their third season of competition. The Wildcats have cut their goals allowed in half in 2018 and are allowing just 0.86 goals per match. A five-match shutout streak was one of the highlights of October with the Wildcat defense holding their opponents scoreless for 522:55 over the course of 7 matches.

Kliebe has earned the start between the posts in the last 10 matches for the Wildcats. He leads the team and is near the top of the national leaderboard with a 0.79 goals against average and a .867 save percentage.

  POSTSEASON HOPES

Just two weekends of action remain in the 2018 regular season before the 2018 GLIAC Tournament gets underway. Currently, the Wildcats sit at third in the conference standings with 13 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 VERSUS PURDUE-NORTHWEST

The two sides split a pair of contests last season with each team taking a victory on their home pitch. Last season marked the first matchups between the two programs after PNW joined the NCAA Division II and GLIAC membership.

  NMU VERSUS DAVENPORT

Earlier this season, NMU earned their first-ever program victory over the Panthers with a 2-1 win. The match was the 2018 conference opener and the third meeting between the two programs after DU joined the NCAA Division II and GLIAC membership.