NIU finds ‘some life’ after weekend wins

By Mark D. Morrey

The NIU soccer team was in good spirits looking back on this past weekend’s success.

Two conference victories by a combined score of 5-1 made them feel good and sleep easy.

“We found some life,” said head coach Willy Roy. “We had a good effort”.

Roy was extremely happy not only with the play of his men but also their attitudes. “Players are realizing what their roles are and playing with more confidence,” he said.

The Huskies are starting to play together as a team. Earlier in the season, the individual effort was there but the team effort was a bit lacking.

“People who sat on the bench all last season were suddenly expected to perform,” said tri-captain Dave Weichman. He felt there was too much pressure on them at the start of the season and people were trying to do too much.

Weichman credits the defense for covering up more and not making as many mistakes. If they covered up earlier like they are now, they would have chalked up a few more victories. Several games were lost because of blown coverage on defense, resulting in goals that never should have been.

Another reason for the success has been junior goalkeeper Jeff McCall. In the two victories last weekend, McCall allowed just one goal and tallied his first shutout. “It’s about time we got one,” said McCall, still smiling three days later. “It felt great, the defense played well.”

McCall credits teammates Weichman, Ken Hoffman, Jay Konrad and Maitri Aung-Thwin for “keeping Valpo in check.” But the real test came against Wright State, which only lost one match all season before facing NIU. McCall answered the call along with the rest of the team for the 2-1 victory but made sure the defense got equal credit.

“It means something when you beat a good team,” Roy said. He especially liked the fact that NIU came back from a tie

to win.

“We are talking more and staying calm,” McCall added.