EVANSTON, Ill. – Sophomore Steven Stefanak (Massepequa, N.Y.), coming off the bench, notched his first goal in a Crusaders uniform early on, but the Holy Cross men's soccer team could not hold on for the win, falling 2-1 against Northern Illinois in the Lakeside Classic hosted by Northwestern. With the decision, the Crusaders collect a record of 1-3-1 on the season while the Huskies improve to a 2-2-1 record. Senior Jonathan Werth (University Park, Md.) aided Stefanak in the scoring event, marking his fourth assist on the season.
After 31 minutes of scoreless play, Stefanak put his lone shot of the game past Husky goalie Nate Dubois at exactly 31:18, assisted by Werth. The Crusaders managed just three shots in the half, but made one count as they headed into the locker room up 1-0. Northern Illinois attempted seven shots in the first half as sophomore goalkeeper Evan Polanik (Holliston, Mass.) marked two saves.
The Huskies would tie the game at the 48:26 mark, as freshman James Stevenson assembled a shot that was deflected off a Holy Cross defender, unassisted. Northern Illinois junior Francis Otira would then tally the game-winner just under seven minutes later, heading a ball in from an assist by sophomore Rocco Taglia at 55:06. The Crusaders would collect just two shots in the half, none on-goal, as the Huskies came back to take the final 2-1 win. Northern Illinois would earn the final shots advantage, collecting 11 next to Holy Cross' five shots. Also marking shots for the Crusaders was freshman Monty Sanders (Temecula, Calif.), who led the team with two shots, freshman Kevin O'Connell (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and junior Jordan Michael (Burnaby, British Columbia).
Polanik finished with the two saves collected in the first half while Dubois did not have any saves in the win. Northern Illinois also held the edge in corner kicks, recording four opportunities next to Holy Cross' two attempts. A total of 21 fouls were called in the contest as well.
Holy Cross will wrap up competition in the Lakeside Classic on Sunday, Sept. 19 against Northwestern. Game time is set for 3:00 p.m. at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill.