he Northern Kentucky women’s soccer team will host the Murray State Racers on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at NKU Soccer Stadium.
Northern Kentucky Norse (3-1) vs. Murray State Racers (3-0)
Sunday, Sept. 3 – 1 p.m.
Highland Heights, Ky. – NKU Soccer Stadium
LAST TIME OUT: The Norse gave head coach Bob Sheehan his 300th career win on Tuesday in a 2-1 victory over Appalachian State. Emily Soltes put NKU ahead in the 25th minute on a penalty kick. The Norse maintained their 1-0 lead until the 87th minute. Appalachian State’s Emmily Cowie crossed a ball form the right side to Kat Greer near the six-yard line, and Greer was able to one-time the ball into the back of the net to tie the game. The match went into overtime, and NKU’s Ally Perkins scored the game-winner in the 95th minute on a set piece to secure the win.
SCOUTING MURRAY STATE: The Racers enter the contest with a perfect 3-0 record. Murray State has recorded wins against Marshall, Troy and South Alabama this season. In their most recent outing against South Alabama, the Racers fell behind 1-0 early in the first half. However, Harriet Withers scored goals in the 36th and 68th minutes to help Murray State to a win.
Withers leads the team with five goals on the season. Miyah Watford has also contributed a goal this year. In the net, Alex Steigerwald has seen all of the action for the Racers. She has made nine saves, allowing just two goals for a 0.67 goals against average.
TAKING A LOOK AT THE STATS: Four different players have scored for the Norse this season. Jessica Frey leads the offense with four goals and eight points. Emily Lohmann has played all 365 minutes in the net for the Norse. She has made 16 saves, allowing five goals for a 1.24 goals against average.
In what can be described as a coincidence, all of the games the Norse have played in this season have resulted in 2-1 score line. NKU has picked up 2-1 victories against Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State and Appalachian State, and the team was defeated at Indiana State by a 2-1 margin.
HORIZON LEAGUE: The Horizon League announced its women’s soccer preseason poll for the 2017 campaign. 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 is in his 21st season as the head coach of the program. He is the only coach in the team’s history and sports a 300-95-26 overall record. In Division I play, his teams are 48-42-8.
Sheehan ranks in the top 40 all-time in winning percentage for women’s soccer coaches in NCAA history across all divisions. He is also in the top 60 all-time in total victories for women’s soccer coaches across all NCAA divisions.
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: The Norse will host Cincinnati in the Riverboat Rivalry on Thursday, Sept. 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Northern Kentucky University
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant