Huskies favored in weekend tournament

By Sean Connor

In 1973, the NIU men’s soccer team went 3-0-1 in its first four games and became the only team in the program’s history to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Standing at 3-0-1 and hosting the Adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational this weekend, the undefeated Huskies will continue the run for the squad’s first tournament in 32 years.

At 4:30 p.m. today the Huskies play Northwestern (2-2-0). Sunday at 1:15 p.m. NIU will take on Detroit-Mercy (0-1-2).

NIU will play the unfamiliar role as the favorite, after being ranked No. 6 in the Midwest Regional Ratings earlier this week.

“We all actually found out through the press release,” NIU coach Steve Simmons said. “I think we have a long way to go before we start talking NCAA, and the guys will attest to that.”

NIU and NU’s paths have already crossed this year, and not just on the football field.

The Huskies played in NU’s Invitational Sept. 2 and 4. NIU went 1-0-1, but did not play the Wildcats.

NIU holds a 15-4-3 all-time advantage over the purple and black. The Huskies lost in the previous meeting, and finished in a 2-2 tie the last time the two teams met in DeKalb.

“We’ve been very inconsistent defending,” Simmons said. “NU will be a tough test because they were in the top 25 until last week. If we don’t pay attention to the details they’ll make us pay.”

Aurora native Gerardo Alvarez will lead the way for NU. The senior missed the Wildcats’ first two games, and made his first start in NU’s loss to the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Alvarez led the Wildcats with 12 goals and nine assists last season.

“We have the talent, defense and the depth,” VanDuerm said. “We’re buying into what coach Simmons is doing. Now we have to keep it up for the whole year.”