Don’t play with fire


NIU’s men’s soccer team has been on fire lately.

Now it’s time to put out the Flames. The UIC Flames, that is.

Head coach Willy Roy and his squad will go to battle at Huskie Soccer Field today at 4 p.m. hoping to extend their five-game win streak.

The game will also be broadcast on SportsChannel-Chicago Sunday at noon as the Mid-Continent Conference Game of the Week.

The Huskies (6-4-1) have been riding high, taking two tournament championships and finishing off DePaul to amass a string of victories that has lasted since Sept. 19.

UIC currently posts a dismal 2-7-0 record, but Roy isn’t taking the Flames for granted.

“We’re not looking at records,” Roy said. “UIC didn’t have a good record last year and they beat us. We just have to go in motivated and prepared.”

The Huskies have certainly maintained reasons to stay motivated, turning their season around from a dismal 1-4-1 start.

The team also seems to be more at ease and more confident with its play.

“We’re a lot more relaxed,” said defenseman Michael DeFort. “Every victory brings us more confidence.”

The gameplan for the UIC match is simple.

“We need to do the things we’re supposed to do, watch their top scorers, and let UIC worry about us rather than us worry about them,” Roy said.

The Flames haven’t been much of an offensive threat this year, scoring nine goals in nine games. UIC is led by forward Andrew Manton, who has scored four of UIC’s nine goals, and midfielder/forward Eugene Raso, who leads the Flames in assists. UIC has been shut out in four of their nine games.

The Huskies will counter with the offensive power of Andy Lane, the defensive strength of DeFort, and of course, goalie Brad Nordeng.

UIC leads the overall series against NIU 7-4-2. Despite this, both Roy and the team knows what they have to do.

“Everybody knows what’s going on, and everybody knows what they have to do,” Roy said. “Soccer is a game of upsets, we beat (No. 9) SMU, and Wisconsin-Green Bay just beat No. 5 Clemson. We just have to be alert and we’ll do fine.”