HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Cleveland State University men's soccer team had tied the match with under four minutes to play, but host Northern Kentucky return the favor in the final minute to claim a 2-1 win in Horizon League action Saturday afternoon at a windy NKU Soccer Stadium.
Junior Hayden Parente, an offseason transfer, registered his first point as a Viking with his 87th strike. However, the Norse came back to find the net before the teams could commence with the overtime periods.
Cleveland State had a 12-9 advantage in shots for the match. The Vikings have now outshot their opponent in all six League fixtures this season.
Six Vikings returned to the lineup after not starting in the midweek, non-conference match at Loyola (Md.). That group included sophomore Dan Manolahce, who returned at center back after missing the past two weeks due to injury.
The teams each took just one shot in the opening 20 minutes, neither of which were particularly threatening.
CSU had the first great look at goal in the 25th minute. Freshman Tommy Paltani played a perfectly weighted ball on the deck to senior Noah Pio. Pio gathered and shot, but his tight-angle effort at the near post was turned aside.
The hosts would take the lead just over five minutes later. A long diagonal ball was played into the box that the Norse attacker chested down and knocked a shot in from a little to the right of the penalty spot.
In the 36th minute, junior Lawrence Karpeh did well to win a ball at the end line that the Norse defender was trying to see out of play. Karpeh dribbled laterally into the area before ripping a shot just over the bar.
The Vikings had a couple of chances sail just wide right in the opening quarter hour of the second half.
DiFranco was involved again in the 60th minute when he dribbled nicely toward goal and played a ball across the top of the box to Pio. Pio took his time and saw his effort hit the right post.
With the clock winding down, the Vikings would get a tying goal from an unlikely source. Karpeh beat his man down the right flank and turned diagonally as he headed into the box. He played a quick pass in front of the goal mouth that Parente, just over five minutes after entering the match, redirected into the net.
However, the elation didn't last long for the guests. After a hand ball was called on the Vikings near midfield, a free kick was boomed forward, with the gusting wind, into the box. After it bounced off of a couple of bodies, a Norse player was able to poke it across the line for the game-winner.
Cleveland State has outshot Northern Kentucky in all four meetings in the series history.
The Vikings resume action next Saturday, Oct. 27, as they host Oakland in their home finale.