Faceoff: Men’s soccer or volleyball?

By Brian Thomas and Mike Romor

Brian Thomas: Due to the strong starts from NIU men’s soccer and volleyball, I feel like they are both more deserving of attention and support from fans than the football team. The football team had high expectations coming into the season and has not lived up to the hype so far. I think we should turn our attention to these two sports.

Mike Romor: I completely agree. Between men’s soccer and volleyball, there is no doubt in my mind that volleyball is the most worthy of garnering the student body’s attention. Not only is the team continuing to produce after a breakout campaign last year, but the team seems to be better than ever.

BT: This is where I will have to disagree with you. Men’s soccer is more deserving of the students’ support and attention. Head men’s soccer coach Eric Luzzi has the team moving in the right direction. They started their season off by winning their first five matches in a row, and they now have a record of 7-2-0. They were also ranked No. 18 in the NSCAA polls before their most recent loss to Buffalo Saturday.

MR: The men’s soccer program is definitely on the rise, but volleyball is in full stride. Its 13-5 record is not necessarily the best, but statistically, there is much to be said about this team. Ray Gooden’s program has put together incredible offensive numbers, leading the NCAA in kills per set and assists per set. Sophomore Lauren Wicinski has great chemistry with senior setter Kristin Hoffman, and at this rate, both are poised to end the season as All-Americans.

BT: Luzzi turned the whole team dynamic around from last season, changing it from a defensive team to a strong, attacking offensive team. This is a very exciting team to watch right now. Through the Huskies’ nine matches thus far, they scored 14 goals. Through nine matches last year, NIU only managed to score eight goals. The Huskies have scored a goal in every single match this year and have yet to be shut out.

MR: That’s impressive, but Gooden’s squad came in and showed last season was no fluke. Looking to capture this season’s MAC title after coming up short last time around, the Huskies used every weapon possible to shut down opponents. They recorded a .278 hitting percentage with 948 kills, while limiting opponents to a .230 percentage and 797 kills. Wicinski is only 14 kills away from reaching 1,000 as a sophomore and is well on her way to receiving her second MAC Player of the Year Award. The team is quite possibly the most energetic out of all NIU programs and is fascinating to watch when running on all cylinders.

BT: As we can see, both men’s soccer and volleyball are moving in the right direction and are looking to continue having success throughout the remainder of their seasons. One thing is for certain; both of these teams are deserving of much more support and attention from the NIU student body, especially if their strong play continues.