Soccer squad battling conference opponents

By Carl Ackerman

Coming into the last week of the regular season, NIU’s soccer team prepares to do battle with two tough conference foes.

NIU travels to Louisville University Saturday for a noon showdown and visits the University of Cincinnati on Sunday for a 1 p.m. matchup.

“It should be a tough weekend with some great soccer”, said NIU Coach Willy Roy. “Louisville has some strong forward play, and Cincinnati has always been tough. We have to worry about playing our style, concentrate and execute what we do, then we should be okay.”

Louisville stands at 8-4-2 overall with a sixth-place 1-3 position in conference. NIU will look to improve on its 10-3-1 ledger and its 3-1 second-place conference mark. Cincinnati (10-3) is tied with NIU for second place.

“We’re playing two tough teams,” Roy said. “There might be a pressure build up, but we’re doing well so far. Every victory is a bonus for us, everybody should be positive.

Coach Roy scouted LU earlier this year against DePaul. LU won decisively 2-0.

“They have a South American flavor,” said Roy. “They use lots of short passes, but we should do well.”

One of LU’s South American influence is scoring leader Alex Gomez, who has five goals and four assists. Dustin Groves is LU’s top goalie with a goals against average under one.

NIU will put its top defender, Dusty Showers, up against Gomez.

“Our defense has done a nice job. We’ve only given up an average of about three-quarters of a goal per game. I think we’re going to play loose offensively. We hit lots of goal posts against Milwaukee. We have had our opportunities,” said Roy.

Although Roy knows little about Cincinnati, he is sure the game will not be easy. UC is led in scoring by Greg Page with six goals and five assists and David Kiley, who has five goals and five assists.

“It’s good for us to get off to a good start against LU,” said Roy, who says he would be happy with a split this weekend. “I’m proud of them (NIU). If we do things we’re capable of then we will be fine. We should let them worry about us.”