Soccer team to open Big Central 6 season

By Tom Clegg

The NIU soccer team travels to Bavarian Field in Milwaukee, Wis., Wednesday for a 4 p.m. match with Marquette University.

Coach Willy Roy’s Huskies are trying to improve on their 2-2-0 season record against a Warrior team which has beaten NIU two years in a row. Marquette is 3-1-1 this year.

The match will be the first Big Central Six Conference game for NIU. Marquette has a 0-1-1 conference mark following a 4-2 setback against SIU-Edwardsville and a 1-1 tie with Quincy College.

“As always, it will be a very difficult encounter,” Marquette head coach Jerry Panek said.

Aside from the game on the field, Wednesday’s match will feature a reunion of sorts for the opposing head coaches.

“I was sorry to hear about (last year’s coach) Jerry Collins leaving. We had a very good working relationship. On the other hand, I was delighted to hear that my old teammate Willy Roy was being hired,” said Panek, who had teamed with Roy during his playing days in the Chicago area.

Marquette is led in scoring by senior forward Todd Fitch with three goals. Fitch has dominated the last two Marquette-NIU meetings, scoring twice in a 4-2 victory over the Huskies in 1985 and once last year when Marquette downed NIU 1-0.

Although the Warrior mentor insisted his squad is “very team-oriented,” he did have special praise for his star forward.

“Todd Fitch is having his best year,” he said.

The Huskies are looking at this contest as a chance to prove they can win on the road. NIU opened the season with two home wins, but the Huskies soon found themselves at .500 when they lost at Drake and Northeast Missouri State over the weekend.

oy blamed both losses on lack of teamwork and aggressiveness, citing the Huskie upperclassmen as the main offenders.

“Our freshmen are doing a better job at communicating than the seniors,” he said, exempting senior co-captain Jim Pisani from his criticism.