Offense answers with with three goals at UW-GB

By Steve Dennis

Any concerns NIU soccer coach Willy Roy had about his team’s inconsistent offensive performances may have been put to rest yesterday in Wisconsin.

The Huskies (6-2-1) not only found the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay net on three occasions, but added a stellar defensive effort to bury the Phoenix 3-0.

Prior to the Mid-Continent match-up, questions surrounded NIU’s schizophrenic offense. In its last four outings, NIU tallied four, zero, two and one goal, respectively.

The shift of Frank Sparacino seems to be paying big dividends for the Huskies. Since Sparacino’s shift from defense to forward, NIU has scored seven times—with Sparacino accounting for a goal in each of the two matches.

Karsten Roy started the NIU scoring on Sunday with a penalty shot just four minutes before the half-time buzzer sounded.

Trailing 1-0, UW-GB remained to be its own worst enemy. With 61:04 elapsed, UW-GB’s Anthony Ichella was issued two yellow cards and a subsequent ejection. The second yellow card was the result of punting the ball away from an official after the initial card.

Sparacino and fellow senior John Lechner hooked up eleven minutes later to double the score. Lechner set up Sparacino for a nine-yard strike from the right side.

NIU iced the cake with a five-yard Craig Williams’ goal in the final minute of the contest.

Goalie Markus Roy had to turn away only one Phoenix shot on goal, as the Huskies led in that category, 6-1. The shutout was Markus’ third of the season and 25th of his NIU career.

“Offensively, we were more aggressive and that’s always good,” Willy Roy said. “As usual, our defense was good. I thought Markus, Karsten, Jay (Conrad) and Derek (Niepomnik) all did a nice job of stopping UW-GB.”

NIU returns to DeKalb this Friday for a 3 p.m. Mid-Con showdown with Akron. But with the seven goals in the last two outings, it’s certain that Willy Roy is breathing a little easier.