Roy plans to end with a bang


It’s been fun, but alas, the end is near.

NIU’s men’s soccer team closes its fall season with a match against Mid-Continent Conference foe Valparaiso University Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Huskies (10-6-2) have never lost to the Crusaders, leading the overall series 7-0. Valparaiso (2-13-0) has fallen on rough times not winning a game on the road this season, but NIU head coach Willy Roy refuses to take the Crusaders lightly.

“We’ve struggled with Valparaiso recently”, Roy said. “UIC didn’t have a great record either, and we lost to them (October 8)”.

The Crusaders are led by forward Derek Woodward, who holds the team lead in goals with five. Marc Riedl leads VU in assists with two.

Roy feels that it is important to end the season on a winning note.

“It would be really nice to win our last game”, said Roy. “I remember my father telling me when I was practicing the accordion, ‘start well and finish well’, and that’s what I try to tell the guys about soccer.”

The Huskies will be without the services of co-captain Jay Konrad and midfielder Derek Niepomnik. Konrad is sitting out the Valparaiso match for accumulating five yellow card fouls during the season. Niepomnik has missed the last five matches due to an ankle injury and will be sidelined for the Crusader game.

Even though Sunday’s game is Senior Recognition Day, NIU plans on retaining practically everyone on this year’s squad for next season to build on this year’s successes. Only Ian Osharow is definitely leaving the team in order to start his business career.

“Ian has made some nice contributions to the team and we wish him well”, said Roy.

Defenseman Michael DeFort is a senior academically, but still has one year of eligibility remaining. His status for returning next year is unknown at this time.

The Huskies have made a complete turnaround from last year’s 6-9-2 record and that has made head coach Willy Roy a satisfied man.

“We’ve had a fine season, but we want to go out doing what we have been and to do it well”, said Roy.