The Northern Kentucky women’s soccer team will host Eastern Kentucky on Friday in the team’s first regular-season match of 2017. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at NKU Soccer Stadium. Prior to the match, the team will unveil its 2016 Horizon League Championship and NCAA Tournament banners.

Northern Kentucky Norse vs. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Friday, Aug. 18 – 7 p.m.
Highland Heights, Ky. – NKU Soccer Stadium

NORSE IN THE PRESEASON: NKU went 2-0 in the preseason, picking up wins over Miami (Ohio) and Ohio. Macy Hamblin scored all four goals for NKU in the contest against Miami, helping the Norse to a 4-2 victory. Ally Perkins was also a major contributor on offense for the Norse during the match, as she had three assists on the day.

The team’s meeting with Ohio was a tightly contested matchup, but the Norse were able to pull away for a 1-0 win. Jessica Frey scored the lone goal of the match in the 38th minute. Hamblin played a ball into the left side of the box, and Frey was able to track it down. She one-timed the ball to the right of the Ohio goalkeeper with a defender closing in to give NKU the 1-0 advantage.

SCOUTING THE COLONELS: Eastern Kentucky had a 1-1 record in the preseason. The Colonels defeated Marshall and fell to Indiana State. In the match against Marshall, Jordan Foster and Marian Wolski provided goals in the first half to help the Colonels to a 2-1 victory.

The Colonels’ meeting with Indiana State resulted in a 2-1 loss. The Sycamores went ahead 2-0 in the first half, before EKU pulled one back in the 81st minute.

Foster was the top offensive player in 2016 for the Colonels. She had eight goals and five assists to lead the team with 21 points. Anna Hall is another returning leader for the team. Hall played goalie in all 19 contests for EKU a season ago. She made 87 saves on the year and had a 0.78 goals against average.

HORIZON LEAGUE: The Horizon League announced its women’s soccer preseason poll for the 2017 campaign earlier this week. NKU tied for first place in the poll with Milwaukee, as each team received 86 points and five first-place votes.

Detroit Mercy, Oakland, Wright State, UIC, IUPUI, Youngstown State, Cleveland State, and Green Bay rounded out the rest of the Horizon League preseason poll.

A SUCCESSFUL YEAR: NKU finished the 2016 campaign with a 13-7-1 overall record and a 6-2-1 mark in Horizon League play. The Norse captured the Horizon League Tournament crown and advanced to play in the Division I NCAA Tournament last season for the first time in program history. NKU fell to No. 1 West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament by a score of 3-0.

Macy Hamblin earned Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year honors for the second season in a row. Jessica Frey joined Hamblin on the first team, Katelyn Newton received Second Team All-Horizon League honors, and Ally Perkins was named to the All-Freshman Team. Hamblin, Frey and Perkins all return to the team this season.

HEAD COACH BOB SHEEHAN: Sheehan enters his 21st season as the head coach of the program. He is the only coach in the team’s history and sports a 297-94-26 overall record. In Division I play, his teams are 45-41-8.

KEY RETURNERS: The Norse return three of their top four top offensive contributors from a year ago. Macy Hamblin led the team in points (27) and assists (9), while finishing second on the team in goals (9). Jessica Frey was right behind Hamblin in points (26) and assists (6), and she tallied 10 goals, which was the highest mark on the team. Ally Perkins is back for her sophomore campaign after finishing the 2016 season with 11 points and seven assists.

On the defensive side of the pitch, junior Taylor Spaulding returns to anchor the back line. She started all 21 games in 2016, leading the team with 1,855 minutes played. Emily Lohmann is also set to return for her junior season. Lohmann started 19 games at goalkeeper a year ago, recording 78 saves and a 0.788 save percentage.

UP NEXT: NKU travels to Morehead State on Monday, Aug. 21, for its first away contest of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Ryan Wilker
Northern Kentucky University
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant