NIU looks to retain trophy

By Mark D. Morrey

The 4-8-1 NIU soccer team will have its hands full today as it takes on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers at 3 p.m. at the Huskie Practice Field.

Once again, the John Lewang Memorial Trophy will be up for grabs. Lewang was the soccer coach at NIU when a car accident took his life on his way back to DeKalb three weeks before the season started in 1981.

The chancellor of Wisconsin-Milwakee and the president of NIU founded the trophy, which goes to the winner of the match each season. Last season in Milwaukee, NIU defeated the Panthers by a score of 5-1.

The Panthers are led by Tony Sanneh with 10 goals and three assists for 23 points. He is closely followed by Dan Gramenz with six goals and eight assists for 20 points. They have four players in double figures, yet have won just four matches this season.

The 4-6-3 Panthers are coming off a 3-0 exhibition victory against the University of Michigan. They have an extremely potent offense for their record. They have scored 29 goals compared to NIU’s total of 19.

Part of the reason for their record is their overtime play. In six overtime matches, Wisconsin-Milwaukee is 1-3-2.

Next season, UWM will join NIU in the Mid-Continent Conference. Both teams were a member of the Big Central Conference in 1989 when the Huskies hosted the playoff match between the two teams.

After a grueling overtime, the match came down to penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Markus Roy stopped a penalty kick but was said to have moved first so the Panthers got another chance. Roy was up to the challenge as he stopped the kick and NIU went on to win the match.

That kind of play has become typical of these two teams over the years as the Panthers hold an 8-7-3 lead. The Huskies will look to even the series and retain the John Lewang Trophy in addition to extending their winning streak to four matches.