Men’s soccer tries to shake off weekend losses

By Sean Connor

On Tuesday, with his team circled around him at midfield, NIU men’s soccer coach Steve Simmons told his players they needed to be sharp and ready to go for practice.

At 4 p.m. today, NIU hosts Wisconsin-Green Bay. The Huskies are 1-0-1 against UWGB under Simmons and have outscored the collegiate cheeseheads 6-3.

“Wisconsin-Green Bay has been playing awfully well,” Simmons said. “I’m certain they’ll come here with a chip on their shoulders after our win last year.”

Simmons gave the team Monday off after losing two consecutive games over the weekend at the Adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational. NIU has not lost more than two games in a row since Oct. 19, 2003 – Simmons’ first year at the helm.

More importantly, the Huskies will have junior goalkeeper Steve Goletz. Goletz had to sit out the weekend’s losses after suffering a concussion Sept. 11 against Valparaiso.

Freshman Joe Zimka played the last 19 minutes against Valparaiso and started in both defeats allowing three goals.

“Joe did a great job in a tough situation,” Goletz said.

The offense didn’t help the rookie out, as it was held scoreless in both games. Sophomore Chris Rufa and freshman Blake Gotkowski, a walk-on last year, were the two Huskies selected for the 11-member all-tournament unit.

NIU has been shut out three times both this season and last season.

“The opponents just get tougher from here on,” Simmons said. “Right now we have to admit that we just weren’t good enough Sunday.”