Eastern draws Northern Kentucky

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

For the fourth time in five games this season, the Eastern men’s soccer team finished a game with a tie.

This time the draw came in a 0-0 result against Northern Kentucky at Lakeside Field on Tuesday.

For the Panthers, the defense stepped up big again, as the game marks their third in a row where they shut out their opponent, which left head coach Kiki Lara feeling good about the outcome, despite it being a draw.

“Three games without being scored on in division one college soccer is kind of unheard of,” Lara said. “So its more a collective of things. The last game for them was on Thursday and we’ve played three matches in five days. So, for us to be a little bit fitter, a little bit sharper is a credit to the guys being prepared and ready to go.”

Eastern held Northern Kentucky to just seven shots (four on goal) in the game. The Panthers themselves had nine shots (two on goal). It was the first time all season Eastern had more shots than its opponent, and the first time all season Northern Kentucky has been shut out.

“Everyone committed to defending the way we defend here at Eastern,” Lara said. “Just, pressure cover, relentless individual defending and quality individual defending as well.”

The Norse matched Eastern almost step-for-step when it came to defensive performance. They held Eastern to just the two shots on goal (nine total) and held the developing Eastern offense in check.

“They stayed organized. That’s a credit to them. They were battling all the way to the end and so that’s a credit to them and their coach and their coaching staff,” Lara said of Northern Kentucky. “That was the part that made them difficult. We had a couple of chances to really hurt and we were a bit off so we were getting better. It was a better technical performance, but still not quite good enough to get a goal.”

Eastern freshman Frederico Verlicchi led the team, firing three shots in the game, making him the teams new leader in total shots this season with seven.

For Eastern, the draw moves their record on the season to 1-0-4, for the Norse, it puts them at 2-1-1 on the year.

Eastern’s next matchup will come Sunday at home against Saint Francis at 3:30 p.m.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]