NCAA says no to Huskies

By Carl Ackerman

After winning the conference tournament, NIU’s soccer team slipped into a mild depression Monday when the door to a bid in the NCAA tournament was slammed in its face.

The Huskies finished third in the Midwest Region with a 15-4-1 record. Despite the successful season, only the No.1 and No. 2 ranked teams (Southern Methodist University and St. Louis) were awarded bids. NIU was close behind in third place.

“I’m disappointed that only two teams were picked from the region,” said NIU coach Willy Roy. “I think it should be addressed at the next coaches convention.”

Most of the players shared Roy’s reactions to the decision.

“I think we were ripped off,” said freshman defender Dusty Showers. “We won the tournament, we brought Indiana into overtime. It just doesn’t make any sense. We will be back next year.”

One person who will not be back is senior Jim Corno, who has witnessed NIU’s finest soccer team in his five year stint.

“I wish I could be there next year, but at the same time I’m glad to graduate,” said a disappointed Corno. “They’re really going to want it (a bid) next year. They’re going to have a great team. At least now I’ll miss it (playing), because we did so well and came so close.”

Huskie freshman Dave Weichman has three more years of soccer left for him at NIU, but his reaction is not any different.

“I was disappointed. It would have been nice to get a bid as a freshman. It still hurts, because we were so close,” said Weichman.

Roy believes an important reason for NIU’s failure to receive a bid is because many people are not sure if NIU is for real.

“Not enough people have seen us,” said Roy. “I think we have to play some teams from the South and the West Coast to gain recognition. We’re not afraid to play anybody.

“I want to play the best schools in the region, but I can’t force them to play us,” added Roy, who is excited about nationally ranked Indiana coming to NIU next season.

“It’s tough to break the ice (gaining recognition), but once you do you’ll do better. We have to have a really positive attitude next year,” said Roy.

Most of the players seem hungry for revenge next year, including Karsten Roy.

“There’s nothing we can do about this year. We’ll have harder competition next year, but then again we’ll be better to,” said Karsten Roy.

NIU defender Tony Adolfs shares similar thoughts.

“It’s frustrating that we have nothing now. We’ll just have to wait until next year. I’m sure we’ll do a fine job,” Adolfs stressed.

As Coach Roy stresses, his team must look at the positive side as well.

“I’m extremely proud of our team,” said Roy. “We had a big turnaround from last year (7-10-6, 0-6), and I think we can only get better.

“We want to make a positive situation out of this,” added Roy. “It’s been a great season, and it gives us a great chance to work towards next year. This was a little letdown for us, but we will come back fighting next year.”