The Stetson men’s soccer team gave up a late lead and eventually fell to Northern Kentucky by a score of 2-1 in overtime in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener on Friday night.
The Hatters (1-6-2, 0-1-0) came out ready to play in their first league contest of the year. Stetson outshot the Norse (4-2-4, 1-0-0) 7-3 in the first half, taking advantage of one in the 27th minute to take a 1-0 lead midway through the first.
Senior Raffaele Centofanti took a Hatter corner kick, as he has done each and every time over the last few weeks, and played a nice ball into the box. Senior JJ Bostic’s header didn’t find the net, but did flick out to the feet of senior Chase Rodgers.
Rodgers settled the ball just inside the 18 yard line, fired it towards the goal, and put it past NKU goalkeeper A.J. Fleak to give Stetson the early lead.
It was a lead the Hatters were able to hold onto for a long time. Continuing to keep possession, while attacking every now and again, Stetson was near its second win of the year when NKU’s Nick McGregor went unmarked in the middle of the field.
McGregor, who was played the ball by Nicholas Chiarot, took a few steps, and struck a ball from nearly 30 yards out. The ball was mishandled by Stetson goalkeeper Andreas Schnabl and found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 with just 1:24 remaining on the clock.
“It hurts, and it should,” Stetson head coach T. Logan Fleck said. “We had a lot of the control of the game, and with a minute and 24 seconds we had a bit of a lapse, we didn’t put pressure on the ball, and it slid under Andi. We kind of laid back and thought that maybe this thing was going to be over. You have to finish it.”
It seemed to be all Norse in the overtime period as Northern Kentucky outshot the Hatters 4-0 in the final 7:34 of the match. It was at that point that NKU’s Yaw Addai played a long cross into the box from the right.
After a couple Hatter defenders missed opportunities to clear the ball, Mohammad Salhieh put the ball away into an open net to score the golden goal and give NKU the 2-1 win.
Stetson finished the match outshot 12-9, and recorded just three corner kicks to NKU’s seven. Schnabl totaled two saves, while Fleak didn’t need to stop a single shot in the win.
The Hatters will continue A-Sun play on Sunday, playing host to Lipscomb at 1:00 p.m. NKU will travel down to Fort Myers to take on Florida Gulf Coast.