The Northern Kentucky University men’s soccer team brought home the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament title this weekend as the Norse beat the University of Indianapolis 3-0 in the championship game on Sunday afternoon.
The Norse where lead by senior forward Steven Beattie, who scored a team high four goals throughout the tournament. Freshman forward Michael Holder added a spark for the Norse scoring three goals for the Norse off the bench, one in each round. Sophomore defender Paul Andrews lead the Norse in assist with five.
In the semi-finals, the Norse jumped out to a 1-0 lead against Missouri S&T as Beattie knocked home a shot on a break away in the 18th minute. The Norse looked as if they were going to cruise on to a 1-0 victory until the Miners bounced home a shot in the 88th minute to force overtime. But the Norse would not be denied. In the 98th minute, Beattie took a free kick from just outside the box. While the initial shot was saved, Holder was able to knock home a rebound which sent the Norse into the championship game.
Beattie again provided the early fireworks for the Norse in the finals as he scored the first two goals. The first goal came within the first 10 minutes of the game, and put the Norse up for good. Beattie was able to add a goal in the second half on a shot that bounced over the goal keepers head. Holder added a third goal late for extra breathing room. This would prove to be enough as NKU held on to shut out the Greyhounds, and brought home the GLVC Conference Championship for the first time since 1995.
“It’s always nice to win a conference championship,” Beattie said “ I had played in the three (conference finals) before, and had lost them all, so I couldn’t leave without winning one. But this is only a stepping stone, we are looking at the bigger picture.”
The Norse where able to gain a number one seed for the NCAA tournament, and will host the regional section for the NCAA Tournament at the NKU Soccer Complex. The tournament will begin on Nov. 12.
The Norse have drawn Quincy in the first round, who finished the regular season with an 11-6-2 record. The Norse defeated Quincy 2-0 on the road in their only regular season match up.
“We feel that conditioning will be a huge factor,” Andrews said. “We practice on a full size field every day, and Quincy has a small grass field, so we are gaining a lot of confidence from that.”
Also on the NKU side of the men’s draw is Ashland University and Missouri S&T. Along with the semi-final match up in the conference tournament, NKU had a regular season match up that also went into overtime with Missouri S&T which the Norse took 1-0. Ashland came to NKU for an out of conference match up, in which NKU was able to hang on and clinch a 3-2 victory.
“It’s good to look back and say you beat these guys, but you only as good as your next game.” Beattie said. “If you don’t preform, anyone can show up and beat you.”
If NKU is able to win, the Norse will host the NCAA tournament until the Final Four, which will take place at Bellarmine University in Louisville on December 2-4.
Story by Nick Jones