CINCINNATI — The NKU women’s soccer team lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats 1-0 Monday night in the first ever Riverboat Rivalry at Nippert Stadium.
“We were on our heels most of the game,” Head Coach Bob Sheehan said. “They were really dangerous. They dumped balls into the corners and get corner kicks. They did an excellent job with their long thrower as well.”
UC controlled the ball most of the game, constantly pushing the NKU defense and goalkeeper Emily Lohmann. UC scored the first and only goal at 17:45, when Holyn Alf volleyed a pass to Julie Gavorski who put the ball in the back of the net.
The Bearcats also took 10 corner kicks and 10 shots on the goal. Gavorski stayed on the attack the entire game, with 4 total shots, with two of them on the goal.
Despite the one goal allowed, Lohmann was excellent for the Norse, saving 9 Bearcat shots. Sheehan also credited the rest of the defense for keep the team in the game.
“I thought she was exceptional,” Sheehan said. “Our back three were tremendous. Chrissy Spears, Sami Rutowski, and Taylor Spaulding battled and did everything we asked them to do.”
The Bearcats offense prevented the Norse from getting into any sort of rhythm. The Norse only managed 5 shots on goal all night and couldn’t get a shot past UC goalkeeper Natalie Smith, who had 5 saves.
“We had a hard time connecting passes and we struggled a lot in our pattern play,” Sheehan said.
Macy Hamblin made a couple long runs and had an open goal shot but was unable to convert any into points. She finished the game having two shots on goal and 5 total shots.
The Norse’s best chance to tie the game came in the 68th minute when the Norse couldn’t convert on a pair of scoring opportunities from Hamblin and Rachel Conaway, keeping the deficit at one.
Despite the loss, Sheehan saw some bright spots in his team’s performance and many things the team will work on moving forward.
“The biggest thing for us is knowing we can play with strong teams. 1-0 is a reasonable result,” Sheehan said. “We didn’t play Appalachian State with enough intensity or competitiveness and we asked our girls to step it up and improve. There’s no doubt we can play with a good team. This is just a starting point.”
The loss leaves the Norse with an 0-2 record on the season. They will travel to Richmond, Kentucky to play Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday night before returning home to face Morehead State University.
Physical Play: While the stats sheet may not show it, this was a physical, hard fought game on both sides. There was hand checking and pushing going after almost every ball.
There were 15 fouls given out in the first half by the officials.
“This is Division I soccer. We’re tough, hard nosed athletes for a reason,” Sheehan said. “We just had to stand up and play.
Scary Moment: Ally Perkins was carted off the field with a probable back injury in the 85th minute after a scary collision in the goalie box with a UC defender.
She was on the ground for about 10 minutes before being taken off the field on a stretcher. Perkins was taken to UC Medical Center for further evaluations and treatment.
Attendance: The official attendance for the first ever Riverboat Rivalry was 4,722 people. That not only broke the the UC women’s soccer attendance record, but also the record for any women’s collegiate soccer game in the state of Ohio.
The previous record for the state of Ohio was 2,079 during an Ohio State’s women’s match.