Norse earn sixth victory of season over Memphis

The Northern Kentucky men’s soccer team extended their winning streak to two games after they defeated the Memphis Tigers 2-0 at the NKU Soccer Stadium.

“They are working so hard for each other and they are so disciplined in our defensive shape,” head coach Stu Riddle said. “We are always going to create chances to score and if we can score we will continue to get what we got, which is shutout victories.”

The Norse haven’t lost since Aug. 27 and improve to 6-1-3 on the season while Memphis falls to 2-4-2 on the season. 

“Right now we are flying,” junior forward Tom Suchecki said. “We are going to go September undefeated which is awesome and more than anyone could have expected or hoped for when we got together in August.”

The team’s success, in part, is thanks to the contributions of the Pitt transfer. After scoring no goals in his first two seasons with the Panthers, Suchecki now has four goals as a member of the Norse.

“I always felt I was capable of scoring at the college level,” Suchecki said. “Now I know the coaches believe in me and I’m getting the chances and we are scoring the goals and winning. It’s just a really nice feeling overall.”

The Norse struck first at 19:18 in the first half when TJ Harris floated a ball into the box for Suchecki. The pass bounced high and the Memphis goalkeeper Jake Leeker hesitated on what to do with the ball, allowing Suchecki to gain control and score. 

“We noticed in the first 10 or 15 minutes their backline was a bit susceptible to long balls over the top like that,” Suchecki said. “I saw TJ had it and he had space so I tried to point out where I wanted him to play the ball. He played a fantastic ball. I thought it bounced really nicely.”

Harris and Suchecki connected again several minutes later, but Leeker was able to save the shot to keep the score 1-0. 

The Norse took the 1-0 lead into halftime, shooting seven times and putting five shots on goal. The Tigers shot five times but only put one of those shots on goal. 

It didn’t take long for the Norse to strike in the second half. Rizwaan Dharsey collected a pass the bounced over the defenders head and the broke towards the middle of the field and scored. The goal was the first goal of the junior’s NKU career. 

“The challenge we placed to the guys who haven’t played as much as they probably would have liked is, when they get a chance in games like this, you need to show that you should be getting in there come conference time,” Riddle said. “For Riz to go and get that goal tonight was incredible for him and the rest of the team.”

The Tigers threatened in the final 10 minutes of the match and even put the ball in the goal at the 82:02 mark, but the goal was waived due to an offsides call. From there, the Norse were able to hold on and collect their sixth shutout of the season.

Goalkeeper Jim Barkei collected three saves in the match.

“There’s not much to say other than the defense has been incredible,” Barkei said. “We are just a train that’s rolling and you can’t break us down if run a play.”

The Norse ended the match with 15 shots, including eight shots on goal while Memphis shot nine times and just put three shots on goal. 

Eight yellow cards were issued in the match, four for each team. The Norse collected 15 fouls while the Tigers collected 11 fouls.

The Norse will hit the road on Saturday to face Milwaukee in a Horizon League match at 7 p.m. The Panthers are 3-4-2 on the season and are 0-3 in conference play thus far. From there, the Norse will play preseason favorite Oakland

and then UIC at home.