Final Four Again!


(Original Article: Final Four Again! NKU nearing national championship, posted 12/01/2010)
For the second time in the past three seasons, Northern Kentucky University men’s soccer team is Final-Four-bound.

The Norse, now standing only two wins away from a national championship, will meet the #10 Dowling University in the semi-finals at Bellarmine University in Louisville on Thursday, Dec. 2. The last time the Norse made the Final Four, Dowling scored two late goals to defeat the Norse 2-1. If the Norse can win the rematch, they will play the winner of Rollins University and an undefeated Midwestern State, who play in the second semi-final.

The Norse come into the Final Four with a record of 18-2-3, and haven’t lost a match since Oct. 22 when they dropped a regular season contest against the University of Missouri-St. Louis, giving the Norse 8 wins in a row, six coming in the post season. After winning their first conference championship since 1995, the Norse needed a late goal to get by Quincy 2-1 in overtime to advance out of the first round. In the second round, the Norse got out to a quick 2-0 lead against Missouri S&T, and where able to hold off the Minors late charge to win 3-2. The Norse used three second half goals to cruise by West Virginia Wesleyan in the quarter finals 3-0.

“We have played fantastic. Against West Virginia Wesleyan, we came out and scored three quick goals after coach got in our grills a little bit at halftime,” said senior forward Stephen Beattie. “Since we fell down 1-0 to Quincy in the first round, we have played great soccer. We have a great mix of guys.”

Dowling University also enters the match on Thursday, riding a hot streak, and coming into the match against the Norse with a record of 12-1-6, suffering their only loss of the season back on Sept. 25 to Southern New Hampshire University. The Golden Lions had a strong group effort this season, with ten players score goals, but also having no individual scored double-digit goals for the season. Dowling was led in points by sophomore midfielder Sean Dougherty, who had nine goals and nine assists this season. Sophomore forward Stefan Draskovic also added three goals and four assists.

In the NCAA tournament, the Golden Eagles barely survived a second-round scare with South Connecticut State. After they played to a draw in regulation, they advanced in a shootout. In the quarterfinals, they were able to shut out Franklin Pierce University and win 1-0.

“They beat us in the Final Four my sophomore year in overtime, and are consistently near the top, but they are nothing special,” Beattie said. “For the guys that played against them last time, there is some revenge. The way we lost was devastating. They aren’t as good of a team as they were the last time we faced them.”

Story by Nick Jones