Maturity improves soccer teams fate in BCSC struggle

By Carl Ackerman

NIU soccer kicks off what may be its most promising season today because of one important factor—maturity.

“The maturity factor is the big thing that will help us this year,” said third-year coach Willy Roy. “We had a young team last year and played top competition. I think we have matured a lot since then.”

NIU will feature 14 lettermen, including eight returning starters, in today’s 4 p.m. game against Bradley University at Peoria Richwood High School.

Goalie Markus Roy, who posted a 1.57 goals against average and earned first-team honors in the Big Central Soccer Conference last season, is included among NIU’s top returnees. Willy Roy Jr. also earned first-team honors with six goals and six assists last season. He also scored the last two goals in NIU’s pre-season 3-1 win over the Chicago Power pro team. Karsten Roy became the No. 3 scorer and a Second-Team All-BCSC pick last year—as was John Lechner, who tied Willy Roy, Jr. for top scorer. Senior Jim Corno and junior Tony Adolfs are among other key returnees.

Bradley returns all of last year’s starters including leading scorer Dave Bushey and 1987 MVP goalie Peter Wagner, who missed last season with an injury.

“We’re in good shape, and I have a very positive feeling on our team,” said Coach Roy, who feels his team has improved defensively as well as offensively from last season.

“I think we are more of a defensive team. We have a good solid defense and Markus has matured lots in goal. We have had two good recruiting years, and if there is a lack of depth it would be in the area of the midfield,” Roy added.

Today’s game and Sunday’s 1 p.m. BCSC game against Drake University at Des Moines, IA., will be two tough tests for the Huskies.

Last year NIU blanked Bradley 2-0 in a home game, but Roy stresses that his team must not underestimate them. This year Roy admits he is leary of the field conditions in Peoria, because the soccer field is 10 yards shorter in width than NIU’s field.

The Huskies lost a close one to Drake last season 2-1 on a couple of penalty kicks. Roy mentioned that Drake also plays on a narrow field which is a disadvantage to NIU.

“Drake is a very different team. You could scout them 10 different times and have 10 different reports. We will play good defense, and if the opportunities come up we will attack. I think if we do good in our first two games it should set the tone for the rest of the season.”