Soccer squad to be tested by league foes

By Mark D. Morrey

The NIU soccer team will have its hands full this weekend as it returns to Mid-Continent Conference action.

On Friday, coach Willy Roy’s squad will travel to Valparaiso with hopes of extending its winning streak against the Crusaders to seven. In fact, Valparaiso has never defeated the Huskies as NIU owns a 6-0-0 lifetime record.

Not only have the Crusaders never beaten the Huskies, but they have only scored three times in the six matches, while NIU has scored 41 goals. In last season’s match, NIU posted a 5-0 shutout—one of four shutouts in the series.

In the Huskies’ last visit to Valparaiso, NIU found itself down by scores of 1-0 and 2-1. Roy and his boys rallied back both times to post a 3-2 victory.

The Crusaders are in the midst of a struggling season as they find themselves 0-5-0 in conference play and 0-13-0 over all. But, you never can tell when a team will break out of its slump, and if the Huskies plan to continue their climb, Valpo must not be overlooked.

On Sunday, NIU returns to the Huskie Practice Field—as it is beginning to look like the regular field will be a goal for next season—to face another league foe, Wright State.

The two teams have only played once (last season) with the Raiders coming out on top. Wright State has an overall record of 9-2-1 and a conference mark of 3-1-0. This should be a challenging match after meeting the winless Crusaders.

The Raiders are led by Brett Becker and his 14 points, coming on six goals and two assists. Becker is one of three Raiders with more than 10 points.

NIU’s leading scorer, Dave Weichman, also has 14 points, all coming on goals (7). Weichman is followed by junior transfer Mike Defort with six points, and right behind is Huskie returning leading scorer Andy Lane with five.

NIU’s 3-1 victory over Northwestern Wednesday boasted the highest goal total of the season for the Huskies. Roy has been pleased with the play of his team as he said it was a team effort that got the victory.

The victory was the first on the road all season for NIU and couldn’t have come at a better time as the Huskies enter the softer part of their schedule.

Roy said all season long that the talent was there but the players just weren’t playing together. Could it be that the Huskies are finally putting things together? Are they going to play up to their potential? Put some money on it.