Roller coaster year has ups and downs

By Bob Regan

NIU soccer coach Willy Roy and his players are starting to recover from the dizziness experienced as a result of a roller coaster season full of ups and downs.

When a team has a record of 7-10-1 overall and is winless in its own conference, a coach has to look at what was good and what was bad without too much emphasis on the latter.

Coach Roy had to deal with some suprises when he started his second season as the Huskie boss. Because of academics, key players Mike Farnham and John O’Keefe were ineligible to play this year, which gave Roy an immediate set back.

But then the roller coaster soared upward when Roy saw his freshmen recruits show up. A group of men Roy believes will help the team tremendously in the years to come. Players like John Lechner, Frank Sparacino, John Kelly, Markus Roy, Karsten Roy and a player that coach Roy refers to as a darkhorse—Mark Siegwald.

Coach Roy’s sophomore class will need to improve along with the freshmen, but Roy gave his second-year players some good reviews.

“Tony Adolfs did a very good job for us on defense. Tony was really our only out-and-out defender because of the injury to Tim O’Keefe,” Roy said. “As far as Willy Jr. is concerned, in the last five games I felt he was our most improved player.”

Other sophomores coach Roy commented on were Jerry Pruszynski, Mike Skvarla and Walid Fikri. These three players received recognition from coach Roy for being able to come off the bench and contribute to the team in a satisfactory manner.

Come next season, the return of back-up goalie Jeff Tweedel is up in the air. Coach Roy is not sure if Tweedel will enter the business world or return for one more year of eligibility. However, the Huskies will have Tim Spiegel as a reserve goalie after sitting out the 1988 season.

Two juniors who will return are Jim Corno and Preben Halle. Coach Roy felt that Corno was in an unfortunate position after a broken wrist, and Roy said he thought Corno lacked a little bit of confidence on the field with the injury.

Coach Roy said he felt graduating senior Jim Pisani came through for the Huskies this year.

“Near the end of the season Jim started to show what leadership is all about,” Roy said. “I moved him from defense to midfield to the forward line—wherever I needed him—and that probably kept him from making the All-Conference team. We’re going to miss Jim Pisani.”

The other senior, Vincent Matthews, was a player coach Roy said had a lot of talent but his concentration was not always there.

During the season, there were two games coach Roy was unhappy with. Both were games the Huskie mentor would like to have won. The first game was the 2-0 loss to Marquette, and the other was the 2-0 loss to Cincinnati. The Huskies, however, got revenge over Cincinnati during the conference tournament Friday with a 3-1 win.

The unpredictable season had some high notes. While NIU had a tough 2-1 loss to Indiana, Roy said he was pleased his team could contend with the Hoosiers who were ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time. Capturing the Illinois Governor’s Cup Tournament was another high point. NIU defeated both Western Illinois and Southern Illinois en route to the title.

Finally, the highest point of the year was the naming of Willy Roy Jr. and Markus Roy to the first team All-Conference and the naming of John Lechner and Karsten Roy to the second team All-Conference.