Soccer squad starting to come together

By Mark D. Morrey

NIU soccer coach Willy Roy had some very good things to say about his team after they got in the win column Friday by defeating Loyola 2-1 in overtime.

The 1-2-2 Huskies were “nervous” as Roy put it, but the team is starting to come together.

While Roy said, “They have to straighten out individual mistakes,” he felt that overall they are playing better. He is still looking for people to step up and take charge on the field but said that “some people are starting to stand up.”

Freshman forward Nathan Mitchell has been catching Roy’s eye this season and got the start for the second game in a row and proved why. Although he did not get on the scoreboard, he was impressive. “Nathan played extremely good,” Roy said. “He is always moving, keeping defenders on their toes.”

Mitchell had as many scoring opportunities as anybody but was unable to connect. He had a goal robbed when a penalty was called seconds before the ball was shot.

That foul resulted in senior Dave Weichman’s second goal of the season on the penalty kick. While Weichman has not been playing up to his standards yet, Roy admired his confidence for going out there and taking the penalty shot after missing on an earlier attempt.

Sophomore midfielder Derek Niepomnik had “his best game of the season,” according to Roy, and Jay Konrad played an excellent game. Brian Reinheimer played “courageous” in limited time, and senior Todd Moore had an excellent assist to set up the winning goal, and defenseman Michael Defort has two of the four Huskie goals this year.

Roy does not want to get too excited over this victory, and at the same time, he did not get too upset over the three-game winless streak either. The coach said, “Everyone plays hard against us” because of the program NIU has had in the past. He is not all that concerned “as long as you improve every game.”

The team is heading to California on Thursday for a two-game road trip against St. Mary’s and Stanford.