Soccer shows signs of big success in 2008 season

Now that the Norse have begun to their ascent into the elite of NCAA soccer, sports in the fall are now more relevant in Highland Heights than ever before.

For the first time since I’ve been here, there is a legitimate fall sports contender not only for a conference title, but also a national title.

How do I know this? For the second time in 11 months, the men’s team has found themselves on top in Division II soccer. The Norse still haven’t lost a regular season game since mid-September two years ago. The last time the Norse had a game remotely resembling a loss was a tie in October two years ago. These are amazing numbers for a relatively small school in a tiny town. The Norse haven’t lost a road contest in their last 18, remarkable in any sport, at any level.

Through no fault of their own, the Norse are now the nation’s best because of several teams going down in key matchups. Lincoln Memorial played to a tie and then No. 2 Midwestern St. fell to Colorado School of Mines (catchy name for a university, isn’t it?).

If last year showed us anything, the Norse can handle prosperity. The Norse took their No. 1 ranking all the way into November before Lincoln Memorial stopped them.

Now, it’s the same situation. Just a different year.

It’s no secret that the Norse have one of the best defensive fronts in the country. The secret has been out since last September when the Norse allowed a dozen goals in the regular season.

The only unfortunate part about the early success is that the Norse won’t be sneaking up on anyone, a caveat I’m sure none of them could care less about.

The Norse are winning ugly. A 1-0 double overtime thriller against non-GLVC foe Carson Newman proved that. They’re winning pretty. A 9-0 laugher of a game over Charleston last week proved that. To this point, the Norse have been perfect in the win column and nearly perfect defensively.

The Norse went on an absolute tear through the GLVC and the early rounds of the tournament before being stunned at home.

And it starts with a huge game against No. 10 ranked Lewis this weekend, one of the few teams who will even have an inkling of a chance of touching the Norse in the GLVC. Looking ahead, a difficult non-conference game down the AA awaits when the Norse go to Ashland, a team that beat three GLVC opponents last year.

But it all starts on the road this week and next, where the magic began for the Norse a year ago.