NIU welcomes all teams competing in BCSC tourney

By Carl Ackerman

Now that NIU’s regular soccer season has ended, the Huskies are preparing for their most important and most challenging event of the year.

NIU will play host to the Big Central Soccer Conference Tournament this Friday through Sunday at Huskie Soccer Field. NIU’s first game will be Friday at 3 p.m. against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

If NIU should win, it will play the winner of the Cincinnatti/Louisville game at 3 p.m. Saturday. The winner would play in the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m.

“We want to play one game at a time,” said NIU Coach Willy Roy. “We should be somewhat on a high note coming into the tournament. We had a nice season, and the tournament is a bonus for us. It’s our last time in the conference, and we want to do really well.”

Earlier this season NIU edged SIU-E 4-3 in an offensive battle at DeKalb. The Cougars are led in scoring by Joe Reiniger’s ten goals and two assists, while Jim Nischbach is close behind with eight goals and four assists.

NIU has plenty of power of its own with leading scorer Willy Roy Jr’s. six goals and ten assists. Per Ekholdt is just as dangerous with seven goals and three assists.

“Both teams are capable of scoring lots of goals, but I have a gut feeling the game will be a defensive struggle. Tony Adolfs, Karsten (Roy) and Dusty Showers will live up to the situation, and should do a really good job,” said boss Roy.

NIU goalie Markus Roy also figures to be an important element in NIU’s success. The 1988 First-Team All-BCSC has recorded 10 shutouts this season.

“The first one (game) will be tough. Ed Huneke (SIU-E coach) has done a great job for his club. He’s a super coach,” said coach Roy. “It’s going to take patience on our part. If we have that, we will do fine.”

Huneke relates to Roy’s beliefs that both teams have strong offensive capabilities, but predicts a similar game to the one earlier this season.

“We have our work cut out for us, but our guys feel good about getting another chance to play NIU,” said Huneke. “We must minimize our mistakes in the backfield and in goalkeeping.”

Although NIU, undefeated at home this year, finished third in last season’s tournament, Roy feels the Huskies are much more capable this year.

Quincy won the tournament last year, but is figured to be an underdog this year with a 3-3 conference record.

Quincy coach Jack Mackenzie admits it will be difficult to repeat last years performance.

“It will be a tremendous challenge. We’ve got an uphill battle. We lost six starters from last year, and it hurts when you have to replace that many,” said Mackenzie.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee finished first in the conference and is expected to do the same in the tournament.

“We have to do what we do well, and that is move the ball well,” said UWM coach Brian Tompkins. “In order to do well, we must move the ball quickly and keep the pace of the game.”