MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer made program history multiple times during the 2019 season and capped the year by making their third straight appearance in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Wildcats won the most games in program history with eight wins, including a program best of seven wins in GLIAC play. The year started with a 2-1 victory over the University of Southern Indiana.
NMU then opened conference play 2-0 with victories over Purdue University Northwest and Upper Iowa University. In the win over PNW, the Wildcats saw their first-ever hat trick from junior Luca Lippert (Langen, Germany) who scored three goals, including the game-winner in overtime. The overtime win was also the first overtime victory in program history.
The Wildcats suffered setback as they would lose their next five matches with four 1-0 final scores. However, the team responded with four-straight victories. The streak started with a 4-1 win at Upper Iowa that saw freshman Ryan Palmbaum (Rocklin, Calif.) post the second fastest hat trick in Division II history by scoring three goals in just three minutes and 45 seconds.
After another win over the PNW Pride, NMU captured their first-ever victories over Saginaw Valley State University and Northwood University. The squad would then pick up victory over Ashland University on Senior Day.
Palmbaum finished his rookie campaign by being named GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Second Team All-GLIAC and D2CCA Second Team All-Region after leading the Wildcats with eight goals and six assists for a total of 22 points. His six assists and 55 shots this season are both school records while his eight goals place him second.
Joining Palmbaum on the Second Team All-GLIAC squad were senior Callum Olpin (Norwich England) and freshman Francisco Espinoza (Buenos Aires, Argentina) while sophomore Kaffie Kurz (Paynesville, Liberia). Olpin finished the year with two goals and three assists while Espinoza added two goals and two assists. Kurz posted an assist.
During the season, Head Coach David Poggi collected his 100th win at the NCAA Division II level.
The Wildcats will look to make it five straight trips to the GLIAC Tournament next season as they are expected to return six of their goal scorers as well as their goalkeeper, sophomore Patrick Restum (Okemos, Mich.) who tallied 62 saves this season.