Bell’s crew in gear for conference foes

By Steve Dennis

It’s time to turn up the intensity for the NIU Field Hockey team as it takes the Cardinal and Black into Huskie Stadium for the Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference opener today against the Buckeyes of Ohio State.

The face-off for the game is at 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, the Huskies take on the regions top team in Northwestern.

Coach Laurie Bell said that the team is ready to go after its 12-day layoff.

“The two weeks have been good for us,” Bell said. “We worked on our corner kicks and our keepers and we did quite a bit of sprints which will allow the kids to play better in the latter portion of the second game.”

Meanwhile, the first game will be no easy task for the Huskies.

The Buckeyes are currently enjoying their best start since 1979 with a 4-2 record. These four wins have already matched their season total from a year ago.

Bell said that the teams are very comparable.

“I think that the game will be pretty evenly matched,” Bell said. “It will be real important for us to win and play well against Ohio State in order to get some momentum going into the Northwestern match.”

The Northwestern Wildcats are nationally ranked at No. 4 with a 6-1 record. A win over them will be a big step forward for the Huskies and Bell, who have never beaten the Wildcats since coming to NIU three years ago.

“In order to get recognized nationally,” Bell said, “we need to play extremely well this weekend against these nationally acclaimed teams.”

Bell feels that with a good effort, her team has a shot to beat the Wildcats.

“If we keep them (Northwestern) out of our defensive zone we’ll have a good chance to win.”

But for now, the Huskies and Bell are looking to keep on the winning track and that starts with the Buckeyes.