Men’s soccer: Fleak’s bomb shot sinks Raiders
Northern Kentucky goalkeeper A.J. Fleak score from 100 yards away proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 decision over Wright State Friday evening at Alumni Field.
Fleak’s goal took a high bounce of a waterlogged turf that caused a number of odd bounces throughout the game. The Raiders tried to not let the rain get to them, but its effects were noticeable throughout the contest.
“This year, we have had a few games where we have had rain delays or games getting cancelled,” WSU defender Greg Marchand said. “We are used to adversity like this, what it comes down to is keeping your mind in the game.”
Though the ball took odd bounces, the FieldTurf at Alumni Field held up well as most outdoor events in the Miami Valley were cancelled Friday due to the storms.
“They were all excited before the game, you don’t get a lot of these opportunities,” WSU assistant coach Jake Slemker said on behalf of head coach Bryan Davis who declined comment. “We started off, we didn’t do enough to settle the game down with our nerves and the rain.”
The loss dropped the Raiders to 1-3-1 on the season.
The Norse got on the board in the 31st minute when WSU’s Chris DuPont dragged NKU’s Nicholas Chiarot down in the penalty area setting up a penalty kick goal by NKU’s Ian O’Reilly.
Three minutes later, Fleak gave the Norse a 2-0 lead as his shot from his own 18-yard box cleared everyone on the field including WSU goalkeeper Craig Feehan.
“Not much to say but a mistake and when you make a mistake on a rainy night, you’ll get punished,” Slemker said about Fleak’s goal.
After the Norse had a 2-0 halftime advantage, the Raiders rallied in the second half creating a number of chances. WSU sped up the tempo of the match and created pressure on NKU’s defense.
“We were trying to get the ball off our feet in one or two touches,” Marchand said. “And then looking to serve the ball in and make their goalie make saves because he was dropping balls left and right.”
WSU was unable to get on the scoreboard until the 87th minute when Eric Lynch found teammate Erik Anderson to cut NKU’s lead to 2-1.
The goal came a little too late for WSU.
“We had to go after the game down two goals,” Slemker said. “There was nothing to lose at that point, we had to put something in the back of the net and unfortunately we did it a little too late.”
WSU has a nonconference challenge at Duke Tuesday before starting Horizon League play on Sep. 28 versus Valparaiso.