The women’s soccer programs of The University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University will hope to set a new NCAA attendance record as they square off in the Inaugural Riverboat Rivalry in Nippert Stadium.
With the big crowds seen at FC Cincinnati matches this season, the city of Cincinnati has an opportunity to break the 2015 NCAA best attendance of 6,253 fans.
On Wednesday afternoon, members of the the UC and NKU women’s soccer programs and their head coaches met with media to discuss their upcoming match dubbed the Riverboat Rivalry.
Coaches Neil Stafford of UC and Bob Sheehan of NKU described how big of an event this was for their programs. “I think it’s a great opportunity for local kids especially,” said Stafford. “We both have local kids in our programs and this is a great way to highlight them and their careers and give them the limelight here in Nippert. With the buzz of FC Cincinnati, we think this is going to be a big occasion for both programs.”
Coach Sheehan enlightened us on how these this event came to be, “Neil called me in March and had this incredible idea and are thought was to build our programs and expose our players best competitive and intense environments. The opportunity to play and showcase our players and program and to align with Neil and FC Cincinnati is just an incredible opportunity.”
Stafford comes from an English background and loves what a new derby game with passionate fans bring. “Any time you can have a derby and get people and the fans involved it really brings some passion. I really think that you see this with FC Cincinnati” said Stafford. “I think it is going to be a great occasion.”
The players are equally excited. “I think it’s really cool to see the city of Cincinnati just fall in love with the sport soccer” said NKU midfielder Sami Rutowski (Sr., Mason HS). ” Just seeing the crowds that have been coming all summer, and that we get to be a part of this as well and play at the same place that FC Cincinnati plays.”
UC forward Taylor Jackson (Sr., Indian Hill HS) is excited to get on the field due to the great support shown at Nippert all summer. “Getting to play here (Nippert) people automatically want to come out. This is an amazing venue. It’s awesome that they’ve (FC Cincinnati) been here. It’s fun to watch and this benefits us.”
Another local product, UC’s goalkeeper Natalie Smith (RS Sr., St. Ursula Academy) hopes to see many supporters of FC Cincinnati in attendance. “As an FC Cincinnati fan, you should come out to the Riverboat Rivalry because we want to bring the atmosphere that is at FC Cincinnati to the collegiate level and we need to support that especially because players from Cincinnati are playing on both sides and we want to make this rivalry truly something special.
NKU midfielder Katelyn Newton (Sr., Anderson HS) also implored for fans of the Orange & Blue to attend. “FC Cincinnati fans should come out to this game because I think it’s a start to an incredible rivalry, there is great soccer to be played and we are really looking forward to this opportunity in this environment.”
The UC Women’s Soccer program is coming off a stellar 2015 campaign which saw them go 13-6-5 to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. NKU enters their first season of full Division I eligibility where they hope to improve upon a healthy 11-5-2 record.
Similar to FC Cincinnati, a pre-match fan zone will be set up on Sheakley Lawn where fans can interact with players from FC Cincinnati and the UC Men’s Soccer program. Inflatables and other games will also be available. Members of FC Cincinnati will also be available to sign autographs on the East Concourse before kickoff. The first 500 UC students will receive a free UC soccer scarf.
The kickoff for Monday is scheduled for 7 p.m. and admission is complimentary for all fans. If free admission wasn’t good enough, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 beers (21 and older with proper identification).
This match sure seems to make for a fun evening. It is great to see women’s soccer be put on such a big stage. Let’s honor these athletes by showing up Monday night and to try ans set a new highest attendance for a NCAA women’s regular season match. The current record was set in 2014 at a record of 10,128 at UCLA. Let’s see if our city is up to the task!
See a video from UC Athletics, a recap of Wednesday night’s FC Cincinnati scrimmage and more information about the UC & NKU programs below:
Pre Season Awards/Rankings:
UC – Picked to finished tied for Third in the American Athletic Conference. Midfielder Jaycie Brown and Defender
Vanessa Gilles were named to the pre season All Conference Team with Gilles featured as the Defensive Player of the Year.
NKU – Picked to finish Third in the Horizon League, yet garnered two first place votes. NKU returns Junior Forward Macy Hamblin, who was the 2015 Horizon League Player of the Year.
FC Cincinnati Reserves Draw Cleveland State 1-1
The FC Cincinnati Reserves faced the Cleveland State Vikings Wednesday night in Gettler Stadium. The Orange & Blue dominated much of play, but had difficulty finishing in the final third. FC Cincinnati was paced by midfielder Ross Tomaselli who scored the USL sides lone goal. Several FCC mainstays did see limited action including right back Pat McMahon, Paul Nicholson, Kenney Walker and Antoine Hoppenot.
FCC did develop many opportunities especially in the first half coming off crosses towards forward Luke Spencer. Cleveland State did tie up the game in the second half and FC Cincinnati was not able to score another. Harkes left the Orange & Blue with 10 men as he pulled Narbon off after some physical play. There may be some disappointment that Harkes’ men could not pull out a win, but let’s not be discouraged as Cleveland came out with added intensity in the second and was able to sub more players due to full squad availability. FC Cincinnati will feature again next Wednesday as they face the Rochester Rhino’s next Wednesday back in Nippert.