Phoenix battle Roy’s regiment to a 2-2 result

As NIU head soccer coach Willy Roy preferred to point out from an optimist’s view, the Huskie soccer team has yet to be beaten.

Granted, NIU would have preferred a victory, but the Huskies did rally to salvage a 2-2 overtime tie with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Saturday. The draw left NIU at 3-0-1 heading into a Wednesday (Sept. 13) 7 p.m. contest at Indiana University. NIU’s meeting with the defending national champions will be shown live on SportsChannel. Wisconsin-Green Bay slipped to 1-1-1.

NIU took a 1-0 lead as Frank Sparacino used a Karsten Roy set-up to work into position to hook a six-yarder inside the far post with 19:52 missing from the opening period. UW-GB’s Phoenix evened the score with 44 seconds to play before intermission on a Jim Stelling seven-yard header as he beat NIU keeper Markus Roy in the air.

Wisconsin-Green Bay’s go-ahead goal was a controversial one as the scoreboard clock showed no time remaining, but the official’s allowed play to continue and the Huskies were caught off guard on a Chad Johnson to Hans Bachmeier goal that was recorded as scored with one second left before halftime.

NIU did come back to tie the game as Willy Roy, Jr. set up Per Ekholdt for a 12-yarder with 25 minutes still to play. From that point, Markus Roy and the NIU defense kept UW-GB off the boards, however, the Huskies also failed to score through regulation and the 30 minutes of overtime play.

“(UW-GB’s) not a bad team,” Roy said, noting the Phoenix’s 2-1 road win over Big Central Soccer Conference champion Quincy College. “I still think we’re the better team and I’m proud we came from behind to get a tie on the road. We didn’t quit, we kept working and that’s good.”

NIU’s Wednesday meeting with NCAA champ Indiana will not be the first confrontation between the two schools. The Huskies battled the Hoosiers last year at Bloomington, Ind., but came up short by a score of 2-1. NIU also played the Hoosiers indoors last spring. However, the outcome of that game was a disappointing 11-1 tally the Huskies would just as soon forget.

Following the game with IU, the Huskies return to the grass of the Huskie soccer field. NIU’s opponent will be BCSC defending champion Quincy College on Sunday (Sept. 17) at 1 p.m.