In double overtime, the NKU men’s soccer team lost their first match of the season at home against the Wright State Raiders Saturday night. With the loss, the Norse drop to 4-1 overall while the Raiders move to 4-0-1.
It looked as if the Norse were about to cruise to a 1-0 victory until a critical hand ball in the box awarded the Raiders a penalty kick. Stefan Rokvic capitalized on the opportunity and sent the kick into the left corner of the net for his fourth goal on the season.
“The first half was incredible,” head coach Stu Riddle said. “I thought we played some of the best college soccer I’ve ever seen in any of the teams I have coached in the last decade. We did not play the same way in the second half or in the extra period, and credit to Wright State for surviving the first half and turning it around to get the well-deserved victory.”
The weather was not ideal for a match of this caliber Saturday night, as both squads had to deal with howling winds and consistent rainfall throughout the duration of the game.
“Most of these guys have played in these conditions before,” Riddle said. “I thought we let ourselves down with set pieces again tonight, poor deliveries on corner kicks and we failed to pick ourselves up after someone scores on us.”
The Norse got the offense rolling in the 11th minute of the first half after junior midfielder Connor Probert fired a shot into the lower right corner of the net with the assist from Alex Greive to go up 1-0. The Norse would continue to dominate the possession battle throughout the first half, as the Raiders were not able to get a shot off until the 26th minute.
The Raiders were able to flip the switch and get off 3 shots in between the 60th and 63rd minute of the second half, but junior defender Abdul Kooistra cost the Norse a yellow card that led to a penalty kick for the Raiders in the 87th minute. With time winding down and the pressure on, Rokvic was able to seize the moment and own it to send the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, the Raiders had an early chance of scoring in the 92nd minute, but the shot attempt bounced off the far right pole. That would be the only shot between the two teams.
Jim Barkei was able to save the first two shots attempted by the Raiders in the second overtime, but the Norse defense was unable to contain the Raiders for long as Deri Corfe sent a goal into the net in the 106th minute.
Barkei played the entire match and collected five saves for the Norse, while Probert recorded his second goal of the season and Grieve recorded his fourth assist respectively.
Next, the Norse face the University of Evansville at NKU Soccer Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. The match will be available live on ESPN+.