Wildcats Turn Attention to 2018 GLIAC Tournament

Wildcats Turn Attention to 2018 GLIAC Tournament

MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-5-5, 3-4-5 GLIAC) will take on Northwood University (7-8-1, 5-6-1 GLIAC) for the second-consecutive match as they open up play in the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. The Wildcats will kick-off against the Timberwolves Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Midland, Michigan.

  FOLLOW ALONG

Fans can follow the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal match on Tuesday using the links below. These links can also be found on the team schedule or composite calendar at NMUwildcats.com.

Tuesday at Northwood
Twitter Updates: https://twitter.com/NMU_Wildcats
Live Stats: https://bit.ly/2O7P5S1

  2018 REGULAR SEASON RECAP

The Wildcats are guaranteed to finish the season with a record of .500 or better, which will mark the first time in program history for the young program. Despite dropping their first match of the season on August 30, NMU went on to win their next five matches and went undefeated during the month of October.

During October, the Wildcat owned a streak of shutting out their opponents that lasted 522:55 and five complete matches. Both streaks helped NMU earn 14 points in league action and secure the fifth seed in the conference tournament.

  POPP BREAKS RECORDS

Senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) will end his career ass the most prolific scorer in the three-year history of the program. Currently, he sits atop the career records for goals, assists, and points and leads the GLIAC this season in a number of offensive categories. In 2018, Popp has recorded 10 goals and 23 total points to lead the league, while he has also added three assists. Both his 2018 goal and point totals are the most in a single season in program history.

  BREAKOUT YEARS

Besides Popp, one other Wildcat has reached the double-digit point mark with junior midfielder Callum Olpin (Norwich, England). Olpin leads the team with three game-winning goals and four assists to go along with his four goals. Not far behind, sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen, Germany) has nine points this season, including a pair of goals over the last four contests.

After missing most of 2017 due to injury, sophomore forward Ben Hoffman (Petoskey, Michigan) has bounced as an offensive threat this season. Hoffman is tied for second on the team with four goals and tied for third with nine points.

On the defensive end, senior defender Kevin Hoof (Maple Grove, Minnesota) and junior defender Edgar Astorga (Chicago, Illinois) have played in every match this season. The duo along with the rest of the NMU defensive unit have decreased the Wildcats' goals against average this season from 1.38 in 2017 to 1.05 in 2018.

  FRESHMAN GOALKEEPERS

A pair of freshmen goalkeepers have seen a majority of the time in goal for the Wildcats this season. Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany) has 13 appearances and 12 starts on the season. His 63 saves during 2018 are a single season program record for the Wildcats, while his save percentage sits at .818 and goals against average at 1.04.

Patrick Restum (Okemos, Michigan) has appeared in four matches and has two victories on the year. Both goalkeepers have combined for six shutouts in 2018, three solo for Kliebe and one for Restum. Twice this season, the duo has combined for a pair of clean sheets.

  THE BRACKET

NMU will take on Northwood for the second time in as many matches when they open the 2018 GLIAC Tournament. The other quarterfinal matchup will see Purdue University-Northwest take on Ashland University. The winner of both matches will travel to Saginaw Valley State University to take on either the Cardinals or the University of Wisconsin-Parkside who both received first-round byes.

  GLIAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Last season, the Wildcats advanced to postseason play for the first time since the program began competition during the 2016 campaign. In their first-ever postseason match, NMU defeated Tiffin University, 2-1, before bowing out in the semifinal round.

  NMU VERSUS NORTHWOOD

The match will be a rematch of the regular season finale from Friday. Northwood earned a 2-1 victory on their home pitch. The Timberwolves also took a 2-1 victory on October 3 in Marquette.