The lady Norse defeated Truman State University, 2-0 in the elite eight game played Sunday Nov. 17 at Kirksville, Mo. to make their third straight trip to the NCAA division II final four game.
The Northern Kentucky women now (22-1) is ranked fifth in the NCAA II final poll, while competitor UC San Diego is ranked fourth. The Norse is scheduled to battle UC San Diego, defending NCAA division II champions, on Sunday Nov. 30 in San Diego.
The Norse lost to UCSD 2-1 last year in the final match giving up the winning goal in the last 15 seconds of the game. Senior midfielder Tricia Ruark said, ” It was awful. I think that’s what’s going to stick in our head when we play them, to play 90 minutes and not give up.”
Last year, UCSD outlasted them in the last crucial minutes of overtime play. NKU is determined to prevent UCSD from shattering their dreams of a NCAA division II championship again this year. Ruark, a dominate player on the field for NKU this year said, “Our goal this year was to get back to the Final Four,” then making it to the final match, “and win it, and we’re almost there!”
Each year the lady Norse has played with heart, making it one step closer to a NCAA championship. Two years ago, the Norse only made it to the Final Four and last year the team made it one step farther, to the championship match, but were only one goal shy of a championship title.
This year they expect to win it all! If the Norse get past UCSD they will meet the winner of the other Final Four match between Franklin Pierce (N.H.) College and Christian Brothers (Tenn.) University.
The final match is in San Diego on Dec. 3. NKU’s eight seniors have worked even harder this year to be in this position.
The team often says that coach Sheehan cuts the team no slack when it comes to physical fitness,sophomore Kendra Zinser said, ” Practices are tough we’re always expected to give 100 percent and more. We never look forward to those 120s (yard) sprinting practices.”
However, when asked if the hard work and level of fitness ability has paid off Zinser said, ” Definitely, we may dread the sprints in practice, but it pays to be I shape at the end of the second half in a 90 minute soccer game.”
Often, the most physically fit team prevails in an evenly matched game