The Northerner | Norse fall 3-0 to Oakland, aim for crucial game against Milwaukee

A week ago, the Northern Kentucky women’s soccer team had just beaten Purdue Fort Wayne at NKU Soccer Stadium in a lopsided 6-2 fashion, and extended their winning streak to seven games with the win.

After losing a road game to Youngstown State on Sunday and now hesitating at home to Oakland on Thursday, the Norse have lost two straight games for just the second time this season and sit third in the Horizon League standings.

Head coach Bob Sheehan, who has coached the Norse since the start of the program in 1997, has weathered this kind of storm before, however, and with a team that has already proven capable of breaking a long winning streak, this turnaround could be very soon.

“We’re a little bit stoned right now, we’ve got some major injuries and I think we have to think it’s a long season, and the season didn’t end tonight,” said head coach Bob. Sheehan.

In the last two games against Youngstown State and Oakland, the Norse have been outscored 4-0, with three of those goals scored by the Golden Grizzlies on Thursday in their 3-0 shutout win over the Norse. In addition to back-to-back shutouts, the Norse have only managed five shots on goal in the last two games.

“I don’t think we’ve been necessarily ourselves for a variety of reasons, but I think we just have to keep supporting each other and staying positive about each other,” Sheehan said.

On Thursday, Oakland was helped massively by a clutch performance from one of their top scorers, senior Sami Lopez. The midfielder came into play against the Norse tied for the team lead with six goals this season, and added two to his tally against NKU.

In the 30th minute, Lopez crushed the ball on the sideline and managed to get it past NKU goalkeeper Mimi Stines, putting the Golden Grizzlies on the board. Just over a minute later, Lopez would strike again, picking up a steal on an NKU defender and landing another shot past Stines, giving Oakland a two-point cushion in the first half.

Oakland celebrates a goal in their 3-0 win over NKU on Thursday. (Matthieu Dietz)

The Norse struggled to attack in the first half, as Oakland dominated NKU by an 8-4 margin, notched three corners against two from NKU and fired two more shots on goal than the Norse.

In the second half, Oakland struck again just eight minutes after the break, as second-year forward Jayna Fraser managed to push a shot into the back of the net thanks to an assist from Ashley Postma, giving a solid lead. at Oakland 3-0. This score would hold for the remainder of the contest.

“Credit to Oakland, they came out and played really well,” Sheehan said. “Football is a swing game, when they score the first goal obviously they take a little momentum, they start to play with more confidence. We had some chances that maybe if we score on those here, maybe something different will happen.

Stines, a senior for the Norse in her third year as a starting goalie, is a leader of the team and said the team needs to play one game at a time in order to break out of the current losing streak in which they are found. .

“Obviously we’ve scored a lot of goals against PFW and RMU, so we just need to keep that momentum going, keep our heads up and try to play strong Sunday against Milwaukee,” Stines said.

Sunday’s game against Milwaukee won’t be easy for the Scandinavians, as the Panthers currently sit first in the Horizon League with an 8-0 conference record, and also rank among the nation’s highest-scoring infractions, featuring a challenge to NKU’s generally strong defense.

“We’re really going to have to play together and communicate, keep our heads up and just focus on taking out their key players,” Stines said.

Sunday’s game against Milwaukee, which starts at 1 p.m., pits the two teams in last season’s Horizon League championship game against each other for the first time since spring. After a scoreless settlement and overtime periods, the Norse succumbed to the Panthers on penalties, falling right next to an appearance in the NCAA tournament in April.

“We’re really excited to come back to Milwaukee, obviously it was difficult to lose last year in PK and I think we were very close, so we’re really excited to come back and play in Milwaukee,” Stines said.

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