Huskies look for more positives

By Mark D. Morrey

Once again, the NIU soccer team found itself trying to pull something positive out of a loss—actually two defeats.

The 1-4-1 Huskies were beaten by a combined score of 7-1 by St. Mary’s (Calif.) and Stanford last weekend on a road trip to sunny California.

Sun was just one of the problems the Huskies faced on the wretched trip out west.

For Friday’s game against the Gaels of St. Mary’s, they were hot (near record highs of 88), tired (they were supposed to arrive at 5:30 p.m. but instead got there at 11:30) and out of breath as NIU was not used to playing in the high altitudes.

Besides all of that, the Gaels had the home-field advantage. “We can’t make up all those excuses,” said tri-captain Todd Moore. “We keep making mental and individual mistakes.”

Moore had mixed emotions about the weekend matches. He was extremely upset about losing to St. Mary’s, especially after owning a 1-0 lead, but was happy with the team’s play in the loss to Stanford on Sunday.

After coming out in the second half losing 2-0, the Huskies shut down the Cardinal. Moore said, “The second half was one of the best halves of the year.” The last goal “tarnished what we had done” in the second half.

The Huskies have reason to be happy with their play against the Cardinal, and as senior tri-captain Dave Weichman put it, “It easily could have been a 1-0 or 0-0 game.” Stanford is ranked in the Top 10 nationally and owns a 6-2-0 record on the season.

As far as the tough loss to St. Mary’s, NIU coach Willy Roy was happy with the way Weichman “fought the whole match.” He was also happy with freshman Brian Reinheimer and Nathan Mitchell. “They deserve credit,” Roy added.

The offense is still sputtering, scoring only five goals in its first six games but as assistant coach Karsten Roy put it, “We still have to get used to playing with each other. It is just taking longer than we thought.” He added, “The next three games are very important to us.” Since they are the first Mid-Continent Conference games of the season, it is like starting the season over at 0-0-0.

“Thank God” is what Moore had to say about playing three of the next four games at home as “playing on the road takes a lot out of you.” It is not hard to believe considering three of the road teams NIU faced were against nationally ranked teams.

As Karsten says, though, “It will help us out for next year,” as the Huskies hold more underclassmen than upperclassmen.