Unpredictable Huskies face Valpo

By Hyun Moon

No matter what its opponent’s records have been, the NIU soccer team has managed to make each match a challenge.

Coming into Huskie Soccer Field at 3 p.m. today is Valparaiso (4-8-1), which gave NIU (8-3-2) all it could handle last year. John Lechner finally gave the Huskies a 3-2 victory with a diving header for the winning goal.

“Every match has been an adventure for us,” NIU coach Willy Roy said. “Soccer is a funny sport, some of the world’s greatest teams lose to an amateur team. I don’t think you can underestimate anybody.”

The prime example of NIU’s adventureous nature is the 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Illinois-Chicago Oct. 16 when the Huskies overcame a 2-0 deficit.

“We didn’t come out fired up for that match,” said Andy Lane, who leads the Huskies with five goals.

“When we scored the three goals in that 20 minutes, everyone was giving 110 percent effort and doing whatever it took to win. That’s when everything comes together for us,” Lane said.

Injuries will hamper the Huskies in today’s match.

Roy said Senior forward John Lechner and freshman defender Jay Konrad will not see action against Valparaiso. Lechner is still nursing a groin pull and Konrad, who also has four yellow cards, is recovering from the blow to his head he took in the Eastern Illinois match.

If a player collects five yellows, he is suspended for the following match. The Huskies next match is against No. 5 Saint Louis Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We play well together as a team regardless of who’s out on the field,” said senior John Kelly, who celebrates his 21st birthday today.

But NIU has not started out well in the last four matches.

“In any sport, if you’re playing a team that is ranked lower than you, you’re not as mentally into the match,” Kelly said. “We can’t afford to do that. We have to go in with a good attitude no matter who we’re playing.”