NSU men’s soccer wins nine straight
TNE Editor
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NSU men’s soccer wins nine straight

Published 10/31/17

Zach Cobler

TNE Writer

NSU men’s soccer has bounced back from an 0-3 start to a 12-4 record overall and a 5-1 record in the MIAA. The RiverHawks have won nine straight games going into their final two conference games of the season. If they win these final two games, they will have a share of the MIAA championship with Fort Hays State. The RiverHawks split the home and away games with the Tigers in MIAA conference play.

The two remaining conference games the RiverHawks have left to play are on the road. They will play Upper Iowa (5-9, 0-6) on the longest trip they will take this year, and their game at Lindenwood (8-7, 3-3) will finish out the season. NSU will look to get a result in these road games so they can have a share of the MIAA title.

“Being on the road is always hard,” said Rob Czlonka, NSU men’s soccer head coach. “It is one of those things that when you go, you are going to steal a result from somebody else. You have to play smart.”

The MIAA does not have a conference tournament on the men’s side. The MIAA only has five teams that play each other home and away throughout the season to decide the conference. So for  NSU to make postseason play, they have to finish in the top two of the region to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The RiverHawks are currently in place for a playoff spot because they are ranked first in the region. If NSU were to win out, they would set themselves up to stay ranked No. 1 in the region.

“The only poll that matters is the last one,” said Czlonka. “We just need to keep plugging away and taking care of our business.”

The RiverHawks have found their stride since a rough start to the season. Three of the four losses  NSU has were against ranked opponents at the time, with the other loss coming in a double-overtime game on the road. NSU is still a young team, but they grew up fast when they faced the adversity together.

“We are a young, but strong team,” said Aaron Ugbah, sophomore forward from Tulsa. “We knew we had the tools to win. We just had to put it all together. We play as a team, as one unit, and we all play for each other.”

Although the RiverHawks are primed for a spot in the NCAA tournament, they are not taking any games lightly. They do not feel like anything will be handed to them and they will have to earn their spot.

“We have to stay focused and keep going hard in training,” said Ryan Davis, senior goalkeeper from Dublin, Ireland. “We have to take each game as it comes.”

Davis played a vital part in the RiverHawks’ success this season. He has had six clean sheets on the season and has allowed less than one goal a game. He does not take all the credit for the success of the team this year.

“It is not just me that deserves the credit,” said Davis. “It is all of us. We have been really solid and we are not giving away many chances.”

The RiverHawks return to action at 1 p.m., Friday Nov. 3 at Upper Iowa. They will then finish their season at 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 5, at Lindenwood.


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