Road tribulations continue for soccer squad

By Tom Clegg

Trying for its first victory away from Huskie Stadium this season, the NIU soccer team lost both matches in the Illinois Governor’s Cup Championship over the weekend at Macomb.

Saturday’s contest saw NIU overwhelmed by Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 5-1. The Huskies dropped Sunday’s match 1-0 to Eastern Illinois.

NIU got off on the wrong foot early against SIU when Huskie goalkeeper Jeff Tweedell bounced a clearing attempt off a teammate and into the NIU net 10:28 after hhe kickoff.

Senior co-captain Helge Abrahamsen tied the match at 18:00 of the first half with a penalty kick goal, but the Cougars took the halftime lead at 21:17 on Jim Appelbaum’s 40-yard shot which somehow eluded Tweedell.

When SIU’s Jim Jackson scored from five yards to give the Cougars a two-goal second half lead, Huskie coach Willy Roy pulled Tweedell in favor of junior goalie Joe Hoess.

The new Huskie goalkeeper did not help as the Cougars’ Bill Murray and Jim Nishbach each added goals in the final six minutes to end the scoring.

The match left the Cougars with a 2-0-0 Big Central Six Conference record while NIU fell to 1-2-0 in conference play.

Roy thought the Huskies might have been awed by the Cougars’ size.

“SIU-Edwardsville is a big, strong, physical team and caused us trouble,” he said.

When asked which Huskies played well Saturday, Roy could only find praise for freshman Walid Fikri who was playing in his fourth collegiate match.

“Fikri did a good job,” Roy said. “He moved well with or without the ball.”

Sunday found the Huskies in more familiar circumstances as they battled EIU in a close match throughout.

Despite losing the game, NIU had more shots on goal and more corner kicks than the Panthers. Unfortunately, moral victories do not improve a team’s record as the Huskies dropped to 3-5-1 overall and 0-5-1 on the road.

Again Roy had difficulty picking a Huskie who played well, but he did see some positive things from an often overlooked senior back.

“Tim O’Keefe did a good job on defense and made some good moves forward,” he said.

NIU is working on negotiations with Chicago State for Wednesday. If an agreement can be reached in time, that match will be played at 4 p.m. on the practice field west of Huskie Stadium.