Northern Kentucky Battles Kentucky to 2-2 Draw

Friday, August 17, 2012

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The Northern Kentucky University men's soccer team battled the University of Kentucky to a 2-2 draw Friday night in front of a packed NKU Soccer Stadium.

Tonight's match set a new attendance record, as 1,206 fans packed the NKU Soccer Stadium, creating a loud and raucous atmosphere. It was the first sellout in stadium history.

“They were really our 12th man tonight,” said Cian McDonald, one of the two goal scorers for the Norse. “The student section was amazing. Usually you don't' take note of the crowd, but today you had to.”

Kentucky had the edge in possession early on and were rewarded for their efforts in the 22nd minute when Steven Perinovic put the Wildcats in front with a goal off a corner kick by Gabriel Conelian. Perinovic's powerful header beat Norse keeper A.J. Fleak to the far post.

The Norse drew level in the 36th minute when super substitute Mohammad Salhieh slid the ball past Kentucky keeper Callum Irving from eight yards out. Freshman Yaw Addai setup Salhieh in the 18-yard box with a thru ball.

“I knew it was going in once I hit it,” said Salhieh of his equalizing goal. “Once I looked up I saw the atmosphere, the stadium just blew up. It was loud and crazy. It feels amazing.”

NKU went in front in the 45th minute. Salhieh's initial shot was blocked, but sophomore Cian McDonald deposited the rebound into the back of the net to put the Norse ahead, 2-1.

The score remained 2-1 in favor of NKU until the 77th minute. Dylan Asher found Caleb Richardson who beat new Norse keeper Toby Frohlich to tie the match.

Neither team could create a significant chance in the final 12 minutes, and the match ended in a draw.

Head coach John Basalyga was pleased with the overall effort of his team. “As I told the kids after the game, you raise the bar; but we're going to have our ups and downs.”

The Norse will kick-off their inaugural season in Division I on Aug. 24 when NKU travels to take on Wisconsin-Green Bay. Northern Kentucky returns home on Oct. 4, when they host Florida Gulf Coast in their Atlantic Sun Conference opener.

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