Winning season highlighted by conference title

By Carl Ackerman

All good things must come to an end, and that includes the NIU soccer team’s winning season.

Although receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament would have made the season much better, the Huskies look back on the season as being very positive.

“I think without any question we had a successful season,” said Coach Willy Roy. “Our high was winning the (Big Central Soccer) conference tournament. That was extremely great.”

Roy believes the decision not to grant a bid to NIU was a letdown to everyone, but feels it will only work positively toward next year.

“We know what we did this year wasn’t quite good enough, and we need to improve next year to get a bid. You don’t go 15-4-1 without a good effort,” said Roy.

Last year’s team finished 7-10-1, 0-6, but was expected to improve. How much of an improvement was expected?

“I thought we would go 13-7 or 12-6-1. As the season went on, I can look at our four losses, and maybe we should have only had one loss,” said Roy, who tried to find an explanation for the turnaround.

“We just matured. We’re a well-conditioned team that didn’t want to give up. I think that was evident in the conference tournament when we had a goal scored against us with nine minutes left, but we came back anyway.

“Next year will be a little bit tougher, but we will be a little older and wiser too,” said Roy. “I will be satisfied if we finish with the same season as this year. I will be totally happy.”

oy spoke on his team’s versatility and defensive core which goalie Markus Roy often supported. Markus finished the season with a 0.77 goals against average, 11 shutouts in 20 games plus 98 saves.

Roy complimented Karsten Roy with his expertise, confidence and passing game. John Lechner didn’t quite come back from his injury as much as everyone hoped, but he is expected to contribute more next year.

Off the bench, John Kelly, David Pacwa, Jim Ehrlich and Jerry Pruszinski played well, as did freshman Dave Weichman, Todd Moore and Dusty Showers, said Coach Roy.

NIU’s power-scorers Willy Roy Jr. and Per Ekholdt also had fine seasons, as did Wally Fikiri, added Roy.

NIU will lose only one player—Jim Corno.

“Corno certainly has done an excellent job playing and in the leadership role. We’re going to miss him next year. He’s done a great job,” said Roy.

NIU was led in scoring by Roy Jr’s. 25 points (seven goals, 11 assists). Ekholdt led the team in goals with 10 and Frank Sparacino placed third with six goals and six assists.

“We’re upset we didn’t get a bid, but I sense a feeling that they’re ready to start again for that challenge next season,” said Roy. “What’s important now is that they hit the books and do well academically.”