Norse shutout against Evansville


Colin Johnson

Forward Jacob Cunningham and the Norse lost 2-0 to Evansville

Christopher Decker, Sports Editor

The NKU men’s soccer team lost to the University of Evansville 2-0 on Sunday afternoon, dropping their record to 0-1-1 on the season.

The Norse offense struggled to gain any traction in this game, only attempting five total shots in the game and two shots on goal.

“We didn’t take very many chances,” head coach John Basalyga said. “We didn’t create a whole lot of chances, it’s something we need to work on in practice and we’ll get better.”

The Norse also struggled to keep up with an Evansville offense that shot the ball 11 times and collected 14 corner kicks, 12 of them coming in the second half.  

“We got lazy on defense and didn’t want to move our feet,” Basalyga said. “Give a lot of credit to them, they scored two goals.”

After a sluggish first half in which only three total shots were taken by both teams, Evansville turned up the intensity in the second half. The Purple Aces took three shots before the 60th minute, when Ben Weber put the ball in the back of the net off a double assist from Zac Blaydes and Jared Robinson after a corner kick opportunity.

The Purple Aces put the game out of reach in the 83rd minute, when Ian Gammon received a cross from Cesar Guitunga and put it in the back of the net.

Bringing the Heat:

Temperatures soared into the low 90s during the game, with the humidity making it feel close to 100 degrees outside. NKU’s soccer field is also a turf field, making it feel even worse for the players on the field.

That was no excuse for Basalyga though.

“It was just as hot for us as it was for them,” Basalyga said. “Anytime you play in this heat it’s going to make you tougher.  

Goalkeeper Situation:

Through the first two regular season games, the Norse have been splitting time between goalkeepers Christian Carey and Jared Leyland. Carey has started every game so far while Leyland comes in during the second half.

Carey has given up one goal during the regular season, but shutout Evansville in the first half of this game making two saves.

While shutting out Eastern Illinois in the second half and both overtimes, Leyland gave up both goals today against Evansville, while only making two saves.

Basalyga gave no indication after the game as to when or if the Norse will make the switch to one goalkeeper.

“That position is the most crazy position because sometimes the best player doesn’t always play. It’s what the team is comfortable with,” Basalyga said, “One game one keeper has a lot of shots and give up nothing while the other doesn’t get a lot of shots and gives up two. When we find someone who can take the bull by the horns then they will start.”

Freshman making an Impact

Ten freshman, including Leyland, made appearances in today’s game, only two less than the amount of non-freshman who played (12). The Norse also had no seniors play in today’s game.

Six of those freshmen have started games for the Norse and are learning on the fly how to play Division I soccer.

“It’s a growing process,” Basalyga said. “I think the biggest thing is just growing as a team and gaining some confidence. They are trying to sort through everything.”

Seeing Yellow:

Diego Martinez was given his second yellow card of the season in the 85th minute of today’s game after he ran into the Evansville goalkeeper Frederik Reimer. Martinez then exchanged words with Reimer before the referee issued the yellow card.

According to NCAA rules, if a player accumulates five yellow cards in a season, the player will be suspended one regular season or postseason game. Martinez is almost halfway to that suspension in only the second game of the season. If suspended at any point in the season, the junior forward would have three more yellow cards before a second suspension.