Roy’s squad kickin‘ to go

By Carl Ackerman

When the whistle is blown at Huskie Soccer Field this Sunday at 1 p.m., the team that rocked last season’s Big Central Soccer Conference Tournament Championship with a first place finish will be back to take on a new and more challenging task.

However, NIU’s soccer squad will not be able to defend its title because of its recent departure from the BCSC. Instead, the Huskies must begin a new trend—capturing the crown of its new and very competitive AMCU conference.

Before NIU goes head-to-head with its conference rivals, the Huskies will battle two non-conference foes. Bradley will be the first opponent to face the improved Huskies on Sunday.

NIU has owned BU with a 5-0 record lifetime, which includes a 4-0 white-wash in last season’s opening match.

Coach Willy Roy stresses that there is still no reason to underestimate the opponent.

“We have to be motivated and ready to play when the whistle starts the game, not 10 minutes into the game. As a matter of fact, we should be ready a couple minutes before the game starts,” Roy said.

BU’s Coach Jerry Crabtree, a 1974 NIU graduate and first-year coach at BU, is gearing up to counter the Huskie attack.

“We must stop Willy Roy Jr. (last year’s leading scorer with seven goals, 11 assists). We must also play sound defense and push numbers in the attack. I’m an offensive coach who believes in a defensive style, but the players haven’t quite caught on yet,” Crabtree said.

Roy said his team’s defensive performance hasn’t been coming along as well as he had anticipated, but the offense has looked ready.

“We have to do what we’re capable of doing. It’s our home game so we should go after them and direct the tempo of the game right away and let them know they’re in DeKalb,” Roy said.

With 19 lettermen and 10 starters returning, plus the addition of some talented newcomers, NIU is planning to overcome any preseason obstacles.