Aug. 10, 2007
DeKALB, Ill. - With less than two weeks until the Northern Illinois women's soccer team makes its debut with a pair of exhibition matches in Orlando against USF and UCF, it is a time to reflect on notable summer achievements by current, and former, Huskie players.
FORMER NIU STANDOUT LEADS W-LEAGUE TEAM TO RUNNER-UP FINISH: Former Huskie standout Katie (Klaas) Eriksson (2000-03) helped lead the Atlanta Silverbacks to a W-League runner-up finish during the 2007 campaign. During her career at NIU, the former Katie Klaas was a two-time team MVP and led the Huskies in scoring three times. Eriksson and the Silverbacks fell 3-1 to the Washington Freedom in a tightly-contested W-League Championship match.
"We were in a real close game and had several chances to tie the match while trailing 2-1," said Eriksson. "Our team was made up of players who had to balance jobs and we faced a team that trained full-time. It was a big accomplishment for our team to make it to the championship and do as well as we did."
Eriksson earned an all-star selection during the playoffs, despite spending the 2007 season learning a new position.
"I had always played forward and this season I switched to right defender," said Eriksson. "It was a great experience to learn a new position and have success this year."
The Rockford, Ill., still follows NIU women's soccer and is looking forward to the growth of the program. Eriksson credits the furthering of her playing career to NIU head coach Marci Miller Jobson.
"Marci motivated me and helped me train to continue playing competitively," said Eriksson, who played in Sweden during the fall of 2006. "Marci and Paul have instilled a winning mentality in their team and will take the NIU program very far."
CURRENT HUSKIES AND SUMMER SUCCESS: The Northern Illinois women's soccer program saw a record number of players electively participating in summer leagues.
Among that contingent were several Huskies who earned accolades for their teams. NIU was represented by a quintet of its players on the F.C. Twente3 team of the Women's Premier Soccer League. Karen Enockson (St. Charles, Ill./East) led the team in scoring with eight goals and 14 assists and scored the winning goal in the squad's Tournament of Champions title game victory. Katie Sturges (Downers Grove, Ill./South) was selected to the WPSL's team of the week during the season and teammates Lisa Maier (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg), Kelly Mullany (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and Maddie Lehman (St. Charles, Ill./North) helped the team rack up three championships during the summer, including the Illinois State Cup.
Micaela Damas (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley North), who also was named to a WPSL weekly team, joined Jamie Sitter (Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond-Burton) in league competition this season.
Thea Johnson (Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor), who scored four games in eight matches, and Elaine Eliadis (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg), who totaled three points in seven matches, paired together to play for the W-League's Chicago Gaels.
YORDON CENTER OPENS: The $14-million, 62,000-square foot Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center opened on the north end of Huskie Stadium in early August, provided a state-of-the-art facility for NIU athletics. All Huskie student-athletes will have access to the Frances and George Wilkins Academic Support Center which features classrooms equipped with "smart" consoles that allow instructors to use audio-visual aids, multiple tutoring rooms and small group areas. A spacious computer lab features all new equipment while the Yordon Center's location near the center of campus gives NIU's academic counselors more opportunity to interact with student-athletes.
Down the hall is the 15,000-square foot Strength and Conditioning Center where multiple teams can now work out at the same time. New weight equipment, branded with the Huskie logo, awaits the student-athletes who also have use of a four-lane, 40-yard sprint track. The Huskies' athletic training room is truly "state-of-the-art" and includes an X-ray machine, doctor's office and two rehabilitation pools with video monitors. The central area is more than twice as large as the Huskie Stadium athletic training room and will allow NIU's athletic trainers to serve more student-athletes more efficiently than ever before.
Construction on the $14-million privately-funded facility began in June 2006 and NIU Athletics staffers were able to move in prior to the target completion date of August 1, 2007. The building is named for Northern Illinois supporters Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon, who in November 2006 announced a $2.5 million gift to the project, making it the largest gift to Huskie Athletics in the 107-year history of the institution.
PRACTICE BEGINS AUGUST 15: NIU begins fall practice on Wednesday, August 15 before moving its training sessions to Orlando, Fla. from Aug. 18-25. While in Orlando, the Huskies will take the field for a pair of exhibition matches over a three-day stretch beginning Aug. 21 against USF and concluding Aug. 23 against UCF. On Aug. 31, the Cardinal and Black opens its regular season slate with a match against IUPUI as part of the NIU Tournament that concludes with the Huskies' tilt against Iowa on Sept. 2. Also participating in the weekend matches is Navy.