The Northern Kentucky University women’s soccer team opens the 2016 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. when it takes on No. 1 seed and No. 1 nationally ranked West Virginia at WVU’s Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Tickets for the event can be purchased here. Adult tickets are $7 .Student and child tickets are $5. Groups of 10 or more receive special ticket pricing of $2 each.
More information regarding the first-round match-up can be found at WVU’s Tournament Central page. The full bracket and schedule is available on NCAA.com.
2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship – First Round
Northern Kentucky Norse (13-6-1) at No. 1 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-1-1)
Saturday, Nov. 12 – 3 p.m. ET
Morgantown, West Virginia – Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium
Live stats | Video | Tickets
MAKING HISTORY: The Norse earned the University’s first NCAA Division I Tournament berth with a Horizon League Championship victory over Milwaukee last weekend. They are advancing to the NCAA Tournament in the first season they are eligible to do so since being granted active Division I status in August. The conference title is the first for any team at NKU in the Division I era.
The last time the team advanced to an NCAA Tournament was in 2011 – its last season at the Division II level – when NKU earned its eighth Great Lakes Valley Conference title and made its 11th NCAA Division II Tournament appearance. It fell to Grand Valley in the second round.
POSTSEASON RECAP: The Norse earned the Horizon League Championship title as the No. 3 seed starting with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 6 seed Wright State on Monday, Oct. 31 at home. NKU then erased a 2-0 deficit in both its semifinal and final match to win the title. The Norse defeated No. 2 seed Detroit Mercy, 3-2, followed by a 3-2 win over regular-season champion and No. 1 seed Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 5. A trio freshmen connected for the game-winner in the 88th minute of the championship match. Shawna Zaken netted the goal on a double-assist from Emily Soltes and Ally Perkins.
POSTSEASON STANDOUTS: Junior forward and First-Team All-Horizon League selection Jessica Frey was named the Horizon League Championship MVP after posting three goals and three assists across NKU’s three postseason matches. She has raked in nine points in the postseason and either scored or assisted six of NKU’s seven goals throughout the League tournament. Freshman Shawna Zaken scored the equalizer against Detroit Mercy to help NKU to its comeback victory, then scored the Championship match game-winner with two minutes left in regulation. Junior forward Macy Hamblin and senior midfielder Katelyn Newton joined Frey and Zaken on the All-Tournament team.
HEAD COACH BOB SHEEHAN: Twentieth-year head coach Bob Sheehan has led the squad to its second-straight season with double-digit wins, including a Division-I program-best 13 this season. He is the only head women’s soccer coach in NKU program history and has led the program to a 297-93-26 overall record, including a 45-40-8 record in five years at the Division I level. He has also guided the Norse to a 12-4-2 all-time Horizon League record in its two seasons as a member.
The Norse rank 36th nationally in assists per game, averaging 1.9 per match. Three Norse including Hamblin, Frey and Perkins have six or more assists apiece this season.
Hamblin and Frey rank in the top-50 nationally in points per game. Hamblin sits 34th with 1.59 points per game followed by Frey in 48th with 1.44 per game. Hamblin is also 14th in the country in assists per game with 0.53.
Saturday’s match-up is NKU’s first-ever against a Big 12 opponent.
Four of NKU’s six losses have been determined by one goal. The Norse have not lost a match by more than one goal since Aug. 25, the third game of the season, when NKU fell 2-0 at Eastern Kentucky.
Saturday’s championship victory marked the sixth time this season that NKU posted three or more goals in a single game. NKU has not allowed three or more goals since the season opener against Appalachian State on Aug. 19.
Lohmann, a sophomore goalkeeper, owns an 11-5-1 record this season. Her 11 victories put her in NKU’s record book at eighth place all-time in single-season wins. Her five solo shutouts are also tied for 10th all-time while her 70 saves are ranked fifth all-time.
NKU’s freshmen and sophomores have combined for 36 points, while the freshmen alone have totaled 22 points. Ally Perkins has 11 points in her rookie season, the most of any NKU freshmen since the 2012 season when Maria Silbersack recorded 12 points.
Hamblin, a junior forward, was named the Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. She leads the Horizon League in multiple offensive categories and has posted a new NKU Division-I program record for points in each of her three seasons. She is joined on the All-Horizon League first team by Frey while senior midfielder Katelyn Newton made the second team and Perkins was selected to the All-Freshman team.
Northern Kentucky enters the tournament at 13-6-1 overall, the winningest record in the Division-I era. The Norse have set a new Division-I mark for wins in each of their five season at the D-I level.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS: West Virginia enters the weekend ranked No. 1 in every poll. WVU is led by 21st year head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown who, like NKU head coach Bob Sheehan, is the only women’s soccer coach in program history. The Mountaineers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 16 seasons, the country’s seventh-longest streak. West Virginia made an Elite Eight appearance last season, the farthest WVU has ever advanced in the tournament. WVU went undefeated in the Big 12 this season at 8-0 and defeated TCU, 3-2, in overtime to claim its 16th Big 12 Conference title.
Fourteen of WVU’s NCAA-leading 19 victories this season have been shutouts as TCU’s two goals against West Virginia on Nov. 6 were the first goals allowed since a Sept. 23 contest at Richmond. The Mountaineers’ only loss of the season came to No. 9 Georgetown, 1-0, in double overtime on Sept. 18. They have allowed eight goals across 21 games while scoring 44 at a rate of 2.10 per game. The offense is the national leader in shots per game, averaging 22.1.
Goalkeeper Rylee Foster ranks second in the NCAA in goals-against average at 0.29. She’s been called upon to make just 29 saves across 14 appearances. The teams’ goals-against average (0.37) and shutout percentage (0.67) rank in the top-five
UP NEXT: The winner will take on the winner of the Ohio State/Dayton match that is set to be played on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET in Columbus, Ohio. The second and third rounds are set for Nov. 18-20 followed by the quarterfinals Nov. 25-26. The semifinals and finals will be played in San Jose, California on Dec. 2 and 4. The full bracket and schedule is available on NCAA.com.
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by Melissa Powell
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant