Soccer on path to erase past woes


Freshman midfielder Christian Molina races to the end line to attempt a kick during Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Drake University. The Huskies’ season will start with a game at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville at 7 p.m. Friday in Edwardsville.

By Patrick Smith

Men’s soccer geared up for action last week with two preseason games before their season opener on Friday against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The Huskies will look to be in full preparation mode as they would like to build on the season they had last year when they went 7-7-1 and 1-3-1 in the Mid-American Conference. This marked the best record the team has posted since their record of 15-6 overall and 4-2 in the MAC during the 2011 season. Unfortunately for the Huskies, their season ended when they lost on a last minute goal against the West Virginia University Mountaineers, stopping NIU from competing in the MAC championships.

NIU had two winning seasons prior to their last successful season in 2011 with records of 9-7-2 in 2010 and 10-7-1 in 2009. The 2009-11 seasons were the last time the Huskies were consistently above .500, and each of those seasons, they finished top three in the MAC. Since then, the team hasn’t posted a record above .500 overall or in conference play. Even with an increase in winning percentage over the last three seasons, NIU still hasn’t been able to keep a winning record.

Perhaps a change may come this season as eight starters are returning including junior defender Luke Read who was tied with senior Taylor Cole with points scored last season at 10. Also, sophomore midfielder Kevin Rodriguez, who became the first Huskie since 2006 to earn the MAC Freshman of the Year award, will return. The Huskies will have to wrestle away the conference from the University of Akron Zips. The Zips have a long reign of dominance over the MAC.

NIU opens its regular season at 7 p.m. Friday in Edwardsville. The Huskies’ home opener is slated for 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 when they host Binghamton University in the NIU Adidas Invitational.