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GALLERY: Men break losing streak behind freshman Betz: Draw with UC

Christopher Decker, Sports Editor

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Kobie Qualah (17) and Tucker Monheimer (14) chat with the referee before kicking off.

The men’s soccer team played arguably their best game of the season, and it came against the 28th ranked team in the nation in RPI.

The Norse played the Cincinnati Bearcats to a 0-0 tie in double overtime. This is the second time the Norse have tied this season, making their record 0-8-2 on the season, while the Bearcats tie their first game of the season and move to 5-3-1.

“They are a good team,” Head Coach John Basalyga said. “To be that upset after Saturday and come back and bounce back the way we did was good for us.”

The Norse were lead by Owen Betz, who made his first start of the season at goalkeeper. Basalyga didn’t know how Betz would react, especially after being injured the last week.

“I didn’t tell him he was starting until two hours before game time that he was going to start,” Basalyga said. “It’s a continuing process but he had a good game tonight.”

Betz made two saves and helped the Norse record its first shutout of the season.

“It felt good to shut them out but we really wanted a win,” Betz said.

Betz didn’t get the opportunity to make his first save until the second half, when he saved a header in the box by Ryan Melink.

“You got to get the jitters out,” Betz said. “I didn’t play great but I felt like I did what I needed to do.”    

While the Norse did not score in the game, they accumulated more shots than they had all season long, shooting 17 times, including five shots on goal. The Bearcats shot 15 times and were only able to get two shots on goal.  

After the loss on Saturday, Basalyga said his team worked on a lot of technical training before tonight’s match-up.

“We just worked on a lot of technical stuff. They held on to the ball a lot better,” Basalyga said. “Still nowhere near where we need to be but they were 1,000 percent better than they were on Saturday.”

Kobie Qualah led the offensive charge for the Norse, taking three shots against the Bearcats and one shot on goal. Qualah had multiple chances late to get that elusive goal, but couldn’t convert.

The Norse’s best chance to score came in the first overtime, when Tucker Monheimer received a cross and tried to put it past Pedro Diaz.

Diaz had other ideas, and dove to his right and corralled the shot with his right arm, keeping the Norse off the board.

While the Norse broke the losing streak, the Norse still have a long way to go to be the team they want to be. Basalyga hasn’t lost confidence in his team though and will continue to fight to turn the season around.

“I told kids let’s be the best 0-8-2 team in the league,” Basalyga said. “Let’s cause people to think when they play us. That’s the only way we will progress, if we have that kind of attitude.”

The Norse play again Oct. 1, when they travel to Chicago to face UIC in what will be their fourth Horizon League match of the season. UIC is 3-5-1 on the season.

“We will work on some technical stuff, see the big buildings, and get after them whatever way we can,” Basalyga said. ” That’s all we can ask them to do. We will try to upset people from here on out and maybe we will get on a roll.”

Stay tuned for a photo gallery of tonight’s action.

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GALLERY: Men break losing streak behind freshman Betz: Draw with UC