Junior makes instant impact in 1st match (Men’s Soccer)

Scott Duncan

For the first eight games of the season, all junior midfielder Daniel Chille could do was watch as he was suffering from a sprained knee.

When coach Tim Lenahan played him in Sunday’s game against Michigan State, Chille took little time making his presence felt in his first match of the year.

Chille knocked home a cross from senior defender Dave Vargas in the 73rd minute to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead. Sophomore goalkeeper Will Briley and the NU defense kept the Spartans (3-2-4, 0-1-1) off the scoreboard to give the Cats (6-3-0, 1-1-0) a 2-0 win.

“It really was something else,” Chille said. “It was real great to be back. The team was 100 percent behind me and was waiting for me to come back. I just did what I could and fortunately got a goal.”

The victory was the first against Michigan State in seven matches since 1999.

The Cats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on junior midfielder John Carlstedt’s goal in the fourth minute.

Carlstedt blasted the ball from about 30 yards out, and the ball skipped over the head of Michigan State’s junior goalkeeper Jason Tillman. Senior midfielder Jaro Pylypczak assisted on the goal.

It was the second consecutive game Carlstedt scored for NU.

After Carlstedt’s goal, the Spartans responded with two scoring chances on their next possession. But they failed to break through with the tying goal as Briley came up with one save while the other went sailing wide of the net.

The Spartans pressured the NU defense with three shots on goal in the first half.

“We were defending so well that we were really going to try to make them break us down to score that first goal,” Lenahan said.

The first goal never came for the Spartans despite 12 shots in the game and a penalty kick opportunity in the 81st minute.

Briley made a diving save on senior midfielder Ryan McMahen’s penalty shot to preserve his second-career shutout. Briley made five saves in the game.

“The wet conditions helped a lot because you can’t curve the ball when it’s wet,” Briley said. “So he had to shoot it straight, and I was able to make the stop.”

In the 60th minute, the referee halted the match because of rain and lightning. The teams returned after a 45-minute delay.

Lenahan said he was very satisfied with the overall defensive performance.

“I thought we defended like warriors in the box,” Lenahan said. “(Senior defender) Brad Napper was outstanding, and Will Briley had great game management. And that stop on the (penalty kick) was a game-changing play.”

The Cats held their opponent scoreless for the second straight match. The Cats have held opponents with one goal or fewer in seven of their nine games this season.

“We have one of the hardest working defenses,” Briley said. “That was one of the most fun games I played in my life. I can’t say enough about our defense. They work so hard, and they’ve been doing it consistently all year. This is our team I think. This is where we’re supposed to be at.”

Reach Scott Duncan at [email protected]