Men’s soccer looks to Totsch for a boost

By Jacob Onak

NIU men’s soccer’s regular season is coming to an end. The Huskies now sit in second place in the MAC and need to win out their final conference games in order to secure a MAC tournament spot. A healthy junior midfielder, Sean Totsch may be the boost the Huskies need.

As a sophomore a year ago, Totsch was an important part of the Huskies’ central midfield core, starting in seven games and making 17 appearances.

This year, Totsch has spent the first part of the season recovering from a torn meniscus from last spring. He has only appeared in nine games but he has started the last three games the Huskies have played in and has a goal on the season.

Coach Eric Luzzi is just happy to have the Oswego native back in the squad.

“To be honest, if I look back to last spring season, he was probably our best player in the spring,” Luzzi said. “He had some misfortunes this year and hurt his knee, so he had to have meniscus surgery and is now just coming back over the last three weeks. I don’t think he is at 100 percent yet, but even Sean at 70 or 80 percent is still pretty good.”

A big injury like a torn meniscus can be tough on any athlete. It requires patience and mental toughness to push through the recovery process. While going through his process, Totsch just tried to keep everything very simple.

“The main thing is just take it one day at a time,” Totsch said. “[You need to keep] staying focused, going to get treatment every day and taking care of your injury.”

Totsch brings a level of calmness to the center of the NIU midfield. He never seems to panic when he is on the ball and is never carelessly running out of position trying to get the ball back. He doesn’t seem to vacate the center of the midfield and is also a threat to strike a shot from the distance on the attacking side of the ball.

“I feel like I challenge well in the air and bring more of a physical aspect into the midfield,” Totsch said.

Along with adding to the physicality of the game, Luzzi said Totsch is a strong technical player.

“He is a fantastic mix of a guy that can play and a guy that has a physical presence in the center of midfield,” Luzzi said. “I look at Jayson LeSeth, and Jayson LeSeth is one of our best soccer players but he’s not the biggest, strongest guy. When [Mike] Mascitti was in that role, he’s a physical presence but his soccer is not at the same level as a guy like Sean. So what Sean does is he gives us both those qualities in one player, which is awesome.”

Along with playing in a center midfield role, Totsch has also seen time in the center of the Huskies’ defense, which has been plagued by injuries and suspensions.

Totsch’s versatility, along with his previous experience, will be one of the keys for the Huskies in their final two games of the season. The only secure spot in the MAC is first-place Akron, which has not lost in conference play this year.