NIU hopes ‘confidence’ carries over to Marquette

By Mark D. Morrey

Defense and team play were the name of the game Wednesday as the NIU soccer team defeated the Badgers of Wisconsin.

It appeared as if the Huskies could be breaking out of their season-long slump as they played their best match of the year.

Assistant coach Markus Roy said they are “playing a lot better together.” Besides the Wisconsin goal that was allowed by another “mental mistake,” according to head coach Willy Roy, the defense and goalkeeper Jeff McCall would have had their first shutout of the season.

Since Coach Roy would not single anybody out, here is the entire defense responsible for the victory: Ken Hoffman, Todd Moore, Brian Reinheimer, Derek Niepomnik, Dave Weichman, Jay Konrad, Chris Tripina, Joe Novy and Maitri Aung-Thwin. They all deserve credit.

Missing from that list is regular Michael Defort, who was pencilled in at forward for the match, and judging by his play Wednesday he will be staying there.

“Right now he is more valuable to us at forward,” said Markus. “He has more running ability.”

It was exciting to be around the team after defeating a team like Wisconsin. Assistant coach Karsten Roy was jumping up and down, the players rushed the field and Willy Roy had a smile from ear to ear. Markus said, “It’s always good to beat a team with a good program. It boosts our confidence.”

Let’s hope that the team still has some of that confidence as NIU takes on Marquette University at Brookfield East High School in Wisconsin Saturday night. The 2-7-1 Huskies take on the 4-8 Warriors in a non-conference match at 7:30.

NIU will be counting on its defense to stop leading scorer Jay Spatzek (five goals and two assists) as it bids for its first shutout. The Warriors are coming off a 5-2 loss to Bowling Green State.

Marquette is led by rookie coach Steve Adlard, who just ended a four-year stint at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Steve McCullough will be in goal for the Warriors as he boasts a respectable 1.97 goals against average.

Look for the Huskies to ring up another victory Saturday if they can play team ball like they did two days ago.

NIU will remain on the road next Wednesday as it takes on Northwestern.