Huskies shut out WIU in ‘wild’ game

By Mark D. Morrey

The Huskies shook off the pain of last Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and defeated Western Illinois 1-0 on Sunday in Macomb.

“It was close all the way, but we won a wild and woolly one,” said NIU coach Willy Roy after the match.

The lone goal came on a Derek Niepomnik penalty kick with just under five minutes left in the first half. Senior Craig Williams passed the ball to sophomore Tim Prerost, who was tripped on the play resulting in the Niepomnik penalty kick.

Normally, tri-captain Dave Weichman would have the penalty kick honors, but with his total of five yellow cards, he was assessed a one-match suspension. He will return to action next Sunday for the season finale.

“Derek converted the penalty kick but the credit for the win has to be shared with some others,” Roy said. “Craig Williams had just a super pass for a through ball that had Tim Prerost open in the penalty box. They tripped him and Derek did the rest.”

“Defensively, Jeff (McCall) caught three of four high balls in the middle. Jay Konrad and Joe Novy also did a good job on defense.”

McCall earned his and the team’s second shutout of the season, both in Mid-Continent Conference play. He was credited with four saves and improved his personal record to 6-5-1.

The final road victory improved the Huskies record to 6-9-1 on the year and evened their conference record to 3-3-0. They improved their record against Western to 13-6-0, winning six straight since Roy took over.

The Leathernecks dropped to 4-10-1 on the season and watched NIU pass them up in the conference race as they dropped to 2-3-1.

“It’s a win, it’s a road win, it’s a conference win, it’s fine with me,” Roy said with relief after the match. The Huskies improved their road record to 2-5-1 on the season after starting 0-5-1.

“Offensively, Nathan (Mitchell) had a beautiful header hit the crossbar and Tim (Prerost) collected the ball but absolutely got decked,” Roy added. “I thought we deserved another penalty kick opportunity. We’ve got a couple days off now to gear up for our season finale and senior recognition match.”

Actually they will have a week off until they host Cleveland State University on Sunday at the NIU Practice Field. The match will be the last of the season for the Huskies. A victory Sunday would give the Huskies an above-.500 (4-3-0) conference record this season.

Seniors Weichman, Williams and Todd Moore will be playing in their final matches for NIU.