The NKU Norse women’s soccer team earned a Horizon League tournament berth in a double overtime, 1-1 draw with Detroit-Mercy Saturday night. This is the second time in as many years that the Norse will be able to compete for the league championship.
“Coming in as a freshman I can see that the senior that are leaving this year really want to make and it makes us all want to work even harder,” forward Shawna Zaken said.
The Norse hold onto third place in the Horizon League, with a record of 9-5-1 while the Titans hold on to second place in the league with a 9-6-2 record.
Head Coach Bob Sheehan was unhappy with the way his team performed in the first half. His Norse only managed to take four shots in the first half, while allowing the Titans to take 10 shots. Emily Lohmann was forced to make five first half saves.
“I was pretty disappointed in our team in the first half,” Sheehan said. “I don’t think we came out with the intensity we needed to. We had some individual defensive breakdowns and didn’t attack the way we normally do.”
The Norse did score their only goal in the first half, when Macy Hamblin crossed a pass from the left side into the box to Zaken, who deposited the pass in the right corner of the goal past a diving goalkeeper Marina Manzo.
“It felt great. I was so happy. I just turned around and found whoever I could and jumped on them,” Zaken said. The team is so supportive and comes running to you after you score.”
The Titans struck back however, when Suzie Redick chipped a ball over the head of Lohmann after receiving the pass from Kristen Tobin in the box.
The Norse out-shot the Titans 12-5 the rest of the match while also taking eight corner kicks.
“We challenged our team at halftime and I think they responded,” Sheehan said. “The momentum definitely shifted our way and we had a lot of corner-kicks but weren’t able to capitalize.”
In the opening minutes of the first overtime, Zaken scored what could have been the game winning goal, but was called for offside by the referees.
“I felt like I was onside,” Zaken said. “I was so mad when they called it back because that felt really good too.”
Zaken’s first half goal was the second of her young career, with the first coming last week in the 4-0 victory against UIC. Despite coming off the bench most of her freshman season, Zaken has been a part of five points this season for the Norse, becoming one more weapon from a productive Norse bench.
“She’s a very skillful player and is really technical,” Sheehan said. “We’re glad to see Shawna start scoring goals at the college level.”
Hamblin took a career high seven shots, but was unable to convert on any attempt. She did however, record her sixth assist of the season, which is tied for first on the team.
Even though they have clinched a spot in the Horizon League tournament, the Norse still have work to do to try and advance their ranking prior to the start of the tournament. They will start on Tuesday, when they will play Wright State in Dayton, which is being made up after in-climate weather forced last weeks game to be cancelled.
NKU will then play Valparaiso on senior night Friday Oct. 25.