Wildcats Play to Draw with Eagles on Senior Day

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) — Northern Michigan University Men's Soccer (6-3-4, 3-2-4 GLIAC) played to a 2-2 draw with Ashland University (4-8-2, 3-6-1 GLIAC) Sunday afternoon at the NMU Soccer Field. It was the final home match of the regular season for the Wildcats who end the 2018 regular season with three road contests.

SENIOR DAY
The first seniors in program history will graduate in 2018-19 after joining the inaugural team three years ago. Senior midfielder Carson Burmeister (Grayling, Michigan), senior forward Nic Harenda (Waukesha, Wisconsin), senior defender Kevin Hoof (Maple Grove, Minnesota), and senior forward Sam Popp (Northville, Michigan) were honored prior to Sunday's match versus Ashland University for Senior Day.

WASTING LITTLE TIME
After scoring both Wildcat goals on Friday, it did not take long for Popp to give NMU the lead Sunday afternoon. Just under six minutes into the match, Popp netted his eighth goal of the season to improve his single season school record. The goal also improved his own single season school record for points with 18.

NMU went up a pair of goal just seven minutes later when sophomore midfielder Luca Lippert (Langen, Germany) found his third goal of the season. Harenda sent the ball to the top the box where Lippert was able to get a shot off that bounced off the post and into the goal. For Harenda, the assist is the eighth of his career which is the most in program history.

The Wildcat lead would last the rest of the first half with NMU taking their two-goal advantage into the halftime intermission.

ASHLAND COMEBACK
For much of the second half, it was Ashland that controlled the pace, outshooting the Wildcats, 10-8. The Eagles trimmed the Wildcats lead to one at the 62-minute mark with their first goal of the match after a free kick into the box was tapped in for a score.

In the closing minutes, Ashland managed to tie the contest at two goals each. The score came with two minutes remaining in regulation and would send the match into overtime.

ANOTHER OVERTIME MATCH
For the fourth time this season, the Wildcats went into overtime with a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponent. Each team attempted a pair of shots, one each coming on-target, in the first sudden-death overtime period. Neither sides' shot on-goal would find the back of the net forcing a second overtime period.

Despite Ashland taking a 2-1 shot advantage in the second overtime, neither team could find a goal forcing a 2-2 draw. It was the second 2-2 draw in as many contests for the Wildcats who played to the same result with Saginaw Valley State University on Friday.

BETWEEN THE POSTS
With eight saves in the match, freshman goalkeeper Valentin Kliebe (Hessisch Lichtenau, Germany) now has 52 for the season. That total is second-most in the GLIAC, while his .867 save percentage is the highest in the conference. Additionally, his 0.79 goals against average is the second-best in the league.

NEXT UP
NMU will finish the 2018 campaign on the road for three-consecutive matches. The Wildcats will travel to Purdue University-Northwest on Friday and Davenport University on Sunday with kick-off set for 2:30 p.m. both days.

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.