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Suchecki’s goal carries Norse over Belmont

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NKU players celebrate after a goal by Tom Suchecki (9)

NKU players celebrate after a goal by Tom Suchecki (9)

Colin Johnson

Colin Johnson

NKU players celebrate after a goal by Tom Suchecki (9)

Christopher Decker, Managing Editor

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The Northern Kentucky men’s soccer team defeated Belmont 1-0 on Saturday night at the NKU Soccer Stadium. The Norse have now tripled their win total from last season and improve 3-1-1 on the season while Belmont falls to 1-1-2.

During the week, head coach Stu Riddle told his team, especially the international players and freshman, this would likely be a close game.

“It was a very even contest between two good teams,” Riddle said. “We referenced during the week to our players that typically conference games are going to be one goal affairs and pretty tight. Normally it’s a set piece goal that decides those matches and that’s what we had tonight.”

In the eighth minute, Rikard Lindqvist was taken down by two Belmont defenders in the box and the Norse were awarded a penalty kick. Tom Suchecki then deposited the penalty kick in the goal to give the Norse a 1-0 lead. The goal was Suchecki’s second goal of the season.

“We were under pressure to start. So I knew it was important that if we got on the board we could really just see it out,” Suchecki said. “If you go down it’s hard and your mind starts going and you get frustrated. You could see that with them.”

Riddle believed his team started the game a little nervous, but Suchecki’s goal helped settle the team down for the rest of the match.

“(Belmont) started quite well in the first three or four minutes and I think that was due to nerves,” Riddle said. “So to get that goal really took the edge off.”

Both teams were active on the offensive side of the ball in the first half, combining for 13 total shots and six shots on goal. However, only Suchecki’s shot reached the back of the net.

The aggressive offense also led to plenty of contact between the teams. NKU was whistled for a penalty 17 times in the match while 13 fouls were called on Belmont. Belmont’s Itzik Efraim, Nigel Leo and Nate Kennedy as well as NKU’s Abdul Kooistra and Harvey Moyes all earned yellow cards in the match.

“It’s all part of the game,” Riddle said. “I like it that way because a lot of games now the referee calls the game like it’s ballroom dancing. He let the game go tonight. There was a lot of good physical, fair challenges.”

While neither team scored in the second half, neither slowed down their attack. NKU shot eight more times in the second half while Belmont shot five times. 

Goalkeeper Alex Seely made an incredible leaping save in the 58th minute to keep Suchecki from scoring his second goal of the night. Seely then added another diving save to his highlight reel minutes later to keep NKU from adding another goal. 

Seely ended the night with four saves.

Suchecki shot four times total with three shots on goal while Harvey Moyes and Alex Greive each shot three times with a shot on goal a piece. Five different Norse attempted a shot on goal. 

In the 85th minute, Belmont was able to put the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was waved off after the referee ruled the player was offsides. 

While the offensive potential was on display for most of this match, Riddle described the effort of his defense as “incredible” for being able to bend, but not break

“We saw them digging in for each other out there and (putting their) bodies on the line to block shots and stop crosses,” Riddle said. “I said to them, ‘that’s got to feel good, as a member of the team, when everyone else around you is putting their body on the line to help you be successful.'”

Norse goalkeeper Jim Barkei recorded his first shut out of the season after making four saves on the night, giving him 11 saves on the season. 

The Norse will now look ahead to Wednesday night, when they will welcome the Dayton Flyers into the NKU Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.. Riddle will be focusing on giving some new faces a chance to play before the Norse play their next conference game.

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Suchecki’s goal carries Norse over Belmont