By Matt Poshedley
The Vikings returned home on Saturday Sept. 16 as they looked to extend their conference record to 2-0 against Northern Kentucky University.
The Vikings currently have a record of 2-4. They’re coming off a difficult five game road trip which could end up being one of the more challenging parts of their schedule.
As a result, the Vikings saw themselves only going 1-4 in some tough match ups against schools like No. 13 Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Bowling Green University.
“These weren’t road games against low RPI teams,” Kirk Harwat, head coach of the Cleveland State University men’s soccer team said. “Three of them were in the top 25 RPI ranking.”
Although the result wasn’t what the Vikings wanted, they still came out with a big 2-1 conference road win against the new comers to the Horizon league, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
The win against IUPUI was a team effort, but the steal late in the game by the redshirt junior Madifing Conde, set up the free kick for Brent Nanchoff. A skilled left footed shot by Nanchoff, went off the top of the head of the IUPUI player for an unassisted goal to give the Vikings the victory.
Their most recent game against Xavier University — although a loss — really displayed the Vikings sticking to their game.
“We’re playing our philosophy, our brand of soccer and creating chances off it,” Harwat said.
Sophomore Midfielder Vlad Jandric made the best of his chances, as he scored his first career goal in the 75th minute of play.
“It’s very important for Vlad,” Harwat said. “It’ll lift his confidence and keep him going in the right direction.”
Sophomore Goalie Sebastian Kalk, who led the Horizon League in save percentages last year, had 14 saves on the Vikings’ five game road trip. Two of them coming against Xavier to help keep the Vikings in the game.
“Sebastian is extremely important,” Harwat said. “He’s the last guy to protect the ball and we count on him.”
Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. against Northern Kentucky University (NKU), will be the Vikings’ second conference game this year. NKU is currently on a two game winning streak, with an overall record of 4-1-1.
“We will watch the last few games on video and put together a game plan on how we can execute on them,” Harwat said.
With the next four out of five Viking games at home, there’s a lot to get excited about for this up and coming team.
“It’s a young team and we’re learning, but also excited about the future,” Harwat said.
Like all sport teams, there’s always room for improvement.
“We’ve been making individual mistakes that’s costing us goals,” Harwat said. “We have to key in on playing a 90-minute match.”
Since the Vikings will get back to their own field Saturday night, I think this could be the lift they need to string together some wins.