Before Record Crowd, Norse Soccer Beats Kentucky in Exhibition
In front of a record crowd of 2,188 fans, the Northern Kentucky University men's soccer team defeated Kentucky 1-0 in a preseason exhibition on Sunday at the NKU Soccer Stadium.
NKU senior Gavin Colton netted the game-winner in the 33rd minute to give the Norse their first win of the preseason. Following a Wildcat penalty, Colton took a free kick from 35-yards. UK goalkeeper Callum Irving came off his line with the ball sailing over his head to give NKU a 1-0 advantage.
The Norse and Wildcats continued to battle back and forth in the second half, with both defenses playing stiff. Kentucky outshot the Norse 8-3 in the second frame with NKU goalkeeper A.J. Fleak notching four saves on his way to five total in recording his clean sheet.
Fleak's most impressive effort came in the 70th minute when he fended-off a Kentucky penalty kick by Ryan Creel. Creel tried to beat Fleak to the left, but the senior made a diving save to keep the ball out of the net.
NKU returns to action in its second preseason home match on Saturday, August 22, at 5 p.m. taking on former Norse players in an alumni game. For more in formation on the NKU men's soccer program and all Norse athletics please visit NKUNorse.com.
This was NKU's first win over the Wildcats in four preseason-exhibition tries.
The record crowd of 2,188 fans was the largest in NKU Soccer Stadium History eclipsing the previous record of 1,934 fans.
Women's team ties Western Kentucky
The Northern Kentucky University women's soccer team played Western Kentucky to a 1-1 draw in exhibition on Sunday afternoon at NKU Soccer Stadium to close out the preseason.
"We scheduled two very successful programs in Western Kentucky and Louisville and to be able to score against each of those teams was an attribute to our attack, our attacking philosophy and the abilities of our players," head coach Bob Sheehan said. "I think we are in a fairly good place for 12 days into the preseason. We have a lot of work to do and we have to continue to do all the little things right if we are going to continue to be successful."
The NKU defense suffocated the WKU offense early, holding the Hilltoppers to one shot in the opening 18 minutes while the Norse managed five shots in that span.
The teams traded momentum after returning to the field in the second half as the Norse offense struggled to maintain possession.
The Hilltoppers got on the board first after serving the ball into the box and deflecting it off the NKU defense for an own goal and 1-0 lead in the 59th minute.
Junior midfielder Sami Rutowski found the back of the net for the equalizer in the 85th minute when junior Katelyn Newton found Payton Naylor at the far left wing corner. Naylor crossed it to Rutowski in the box who tapped it in for the game-tying goal.
"I was pleased with the drive and commitment we demonstrated late in the game to come back and get the game-tying goal and to have a couple opportunities to even win a game," Sheehan added.
The Norse open up the regular season at home on Friday, Aug. 21 when they play host to IPFW at NKU Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3.
- Norse freshman Erin Sutton and sophomore Macy Hamblin managed good looks in the opening half, dribbling into a one-on-one situation with WKU goalkeeper Allison Leone.
- Rutowski led the Norse offense with four shots, all on goal. She split her shots between the first and second half, claiming each of NKU's two shots on goal in the second period.
- NKU out-shot WKU 10-7 in the opening half while Western Kentucky was the aggressor in the second half, out-shooting the Norse, 12-6.