NIU seniors end on winning note

By Hyun Moon

It was the only fitting way for the seniors on this year’s NIU soccer squad to end their season.

In spite of everything this class has accomplished, they lacked the luck needed to earn an NCAA bid. But, this team ended its season as winners with a 3-1 decision over DePaul yesterday at Huskie Soccer Field.

Senior John Lechner exploded for two goals yesterday and ended his career with 18 goals. Lechner struck just 10:30 into the match with an assist from freshman Derek Niepomnik. DePaul tied the match 8:23 later, but Karsten Roy capitalized on a free-kick goal to put the Huskies up for good.

DePaul dug its own grave when Sean Curtis was red-carded for kicking the ball into the back of the referee after a penalty was called on him.

The Huskies had their way with the one-man advantage and Lechner scored his second goal on a header past the DePaul goalie. Niepomnik won the ball at midfield and passed the ball to Andy Lane on the wing. Lane faught his way down the field and hit the cross pass which Lechner hammered into the net.

“I was concentrating much better in front of the net,” Lechner said. “I wish I could have been playing like that the whole year, but I’m happy to end my career scoring two goals.”

The seniors ended their careers as the most successful class in NIU soccer history. The Huskies have won two conference titles, won 45 matches and finished top-four in the Midwest Region three years in-a-row.

“Winning 45 matches is quite an accomplishment,” Karsten Roy said. “Not many teams win that many in four years, let alone win two conference titles.”

Nothing was easy for these Huskies, starting off at 7-10-1 in 1988. But now, NIU soccer is a program to be reckoned with. “I’m not afraid to play anybody, anywhere,” NIU coach Willy Roy declared.

With Karsten and Markus Roy losing elegibility, Willy Roy doesn’t have anymore sons to lead his team. “It was an honor to play for a coach of his calibre,” goalie Markus Roy said.

“He put a lot of pressure on the seniors this year, because we wanted to accomplish a lot, but it’s nothing more than any other coaches would ask for.”

“Life goes on,” Willy Roy said. “We sent them to school to get an education, we can’t hold on to them forever. They laid down a great foundation, we have to work hard to keep it going.”