The Eastern Kentucky University soccer team tied Arkansas as the most improved Division I team in the NCAA in 2016.

 

Under the direction of first-year head coach Nick Flohre, EKU posted a win/loss improvement of nine games between 2015 and 2016.

 

The turnaround was quick, and it was impressive. The Colonels went 4-14-0 and missed out on the OVC Tournament for the third straight year in 2015. This fall, they finished 13-5-1, won a share of their first-ever OVC regular season title and advanced to the conference title game.

 

To earn those 13 wins, the team went on two different winning streaks. The first streak of eight matches was, at the time, the third-longest in the country and included five non-conference wins, a school record. The second streak of five matches tied the previous best winning streak (2010), and helped push EKU to eight OVC wins, also a school record.

On the stat sheet, the Colonels broke nearly every season-long record. The 30 goals netted eclipse the previous mark of 22 (2012), while the 77 points scored by the team crushed the old record of 62 (2012). EKU’s 265 shots also topped the old record of 253 (2012).

The Colonels’ defense proved to be stellar in 2016, securing 11 shutouts, breaking the old record of eight (2008).

 

Flohre, the catalyst of EKU’s turnaround, was voted OVC Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season.

 

Most Improved Teams in NCAA (2016)

2015 2016  
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT Imp.
Arkansas 6 11 1 .361 18 5 1 .771 9
Eastern Ky. 4 14 0 .222 13 5 1 .711 9
Central Mich. 6 10 3 .395 15 3 3 .786 8
Central Ark 7 11 2 .400 15 4 1 .775 7.5
Hawaii 3 14 1 .194 9 6 2 .588 7
North Carolina St. 4 15 0 .211 11 9 2 .545 6.5
Colorado 7 10 3 .425 15 6 1 .705 6
Illinois St. 6 10 2 .389 14 6 3 .674 6
South Carolina 12 5 3 .675 21 2 1 .896 6
UCLA 8 10 1 .447 15 5 2 .727 6
Utah 7 10 3 .425 13 4 5 .705 6
Georgetown 11 5 4 .650 20 3 3 .827 5.5
Sacred Heart 4 13 0 .235 8 6 5 .553 5.5
Saint Louis 8 9 2 .474 14 4 2 .750 5.5
SMU 5 10 3 .361 13 7 2 .636 5.5
UNLV 11 10 0 .524 16 4 3 .761 5.5
Drake 7 9 2 .444 12 4 3 .711 5
Idaho St. 1 17 1 .079 7 13 0 .350 5
Rhode Island 3 15 1 .184 6 8 5 .447 5
Saint Joseph’s 13 7 0 .650 18 2 2 .864 5
San Diego 5 13 2 .300 10 8 1 .553 5
The Citadel 1 19 0 .050 5 13 0 .278 5
UC Irvine 7 11 1 .395 13 7 2 .636 5

Steve Fohl

Associate Director of EKUSports Communications

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