GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WLUC) — Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-4-5, 3-3-5 GLIAC) played to a 2-2 draw with Davenport University (3-11-2, 2-8-1 GLIAC) on the road Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats now have one match remaining in the regular season before the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament gets underway.
Despite Davenport taking the lead in the 30th-minute with the first score of the match, NMU gave the Panther defense a challenge in the first half. The first four Wildcat shots in the match came on-goal with a fifth shot attempt from sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen,Germany) being blocked in the 42nd-minute.
The DU score was the lone goal of the first half with NMU entering the halftime intermission in a 1-0 deficit.
POPP TIES IT
A little more than seven minutes into the second half, senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) tied the match at one goal each. He put the ball into the top left corner of the goal on a free kick from 19-yards out. The goal continued to improve Popp's program records for goals and points in a season with nine and 20.
HE DOES IT AGAIN
Just seven minutes later, Popp gave the Wildcats their first lead of the match with his 10th goal of the season. Junior defender Lewis Murray (Edinburgh, Scotland) gave the ball up to Popp who took an initial shot attempt that was saved. The ball rebounded back to Popp who put a second attempt into the back of the net.
Murray picked up his second assist of the season, while it marked Popp's fourth multi-goal outing of the season.
After a goal in the 76th-minute for Davenport, the Wildcats found themselves in an overtime contest for the fifth time this season. NMU fended off a pair of shots on-goal by the Panthers in the first overtime period before attempting two shots of their own in the second. Neither side was able to find a goal, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
KLIEBE IN GOAL
Freshman goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany) made eight saves in the match, including three combined in both overtime periods. He now has 60 saves on the season and a .833 save percentage, both of which are second-best among GLIAC goalkeepers. His. 0.97 goals against average is also second-best in the conference.
REGULAR SEASON FINALE
The 2018 regular season will come to an end on Friday when the Wildcats travel to Northwood University for a noon kick-off. The two teams met earlier this season in Marquette with the Timberwolves earning a 2-1 victory.
Just one match remains in the 2018 regular season before the 2018 GLIAC Tournament gets underway. Currently, the Wildcats sit at fourth in the conference standings with 14 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.
The Wildcats have clinched a berth in the conference postseason and are now fighting to host an opening round contest. With a win on Friday at Northwood, they would host a first-round match in the conference tournament. With a draw against the Timberwolves, the Wildcats would need a draw or loss by Ashland University who will be taking on Saginaw Valley State University.