Nearly a month after its last win, the Racer soccer team took home a 6-0 victory it hopes will carry them to a conference victory this weekend.
Though the win might be nice for Murray State’s record, the defeat of Alabama A&M also gave the Racers a boost of confidence and a much needed chance to work out a few rough patches in their game.
“Obviously for us, going down to Alabama A&M, we had some things to clean up and needed to get the girls’ confidence back, so it was really a nice time to get the result that we did,” Coach Beth Acreman said. “It allowed us to work on some things for conference. We really got the benefits out of it we needed.
“More specifically the 6-0 win gave the Racers a chance to work on finishing goals. It’s not that we’ve not been creating goals, we’re just not finishing them. So for us it was nice to go down there and have Shauna Wicker (sophomore forward) get a hat trick and our little freshman Julie Mooney (midfielder) had two nice goals so it was a good game for us to pull together and work on something that we know we have to for the next six games of conference play.”
In addition to the win, Acreman and her players have been training hard for their final six conference matches.
“Having this kind of two-week lull with this game in the middle has really given us the opportunity to be very competitive in training,” Acreman said. “Training’s really increased in its intensity and we’ve made it more competitive every session and I think the girls have really responded well to that because we know we’ve got a hill to climb and I think they’re all ready now to go ahead and battle for what we need to accomplish.”
Though the practices have been tougher, the Racers can appreciate that Acreman’s approach is the one the team needs at this crucial point in the season.
“Last week we had a tough week in practice but it’s good,” senior midfielder Sophie Hargreaves said. “It was really competitive, but it was good for us because that’s what we need right now.”
Regardless of how well practice is going, it’s crunch time for the Racers in terms of the OVC, with Murray State still lacking a conference win this season.
“It’s almost a must for us this weekend,” Acreman said. “The pressure’s on a little bit, and I feel like we need to urge the girls to see the urgency this last part of season. I’m just going to push the team to the last few training sessions with the urgency being a must here to get the wins we need. We’re going to have a challenge when we get down there.”
This weekend the Racers face off against Tennessee Tech University and Jacksonville State University in hopes of gaining late season victories.
“For us, we’re going to have to be ready to go in and battle with them,” Acreman said. “Obviously we know that any conference game is never easy, and I know that those two teams are going to come out and fight hard, so we need to be sure we’re playing good soccer and again execute the chances we’re getting in front of the goal.”
This late in the season, wins may be hard to come by, with so many OVC teams vying to add wins to their records.
“We always hope we can get the result,” Acreman said. “I think the girls where they are confidence-wise now, I really hope we can go out and fight for the win. I know it’s not going to be easy. Everyone in the conference is fighting for points.”
However, Acreman’s team is feeling confident that the Racers are more than capable of getting the wins desperately needed this weekend.
“We normally do pretty well against both of those teams, especially Tech,” Hargreaves said. “Plus the way we’ve been feeling from the win and the way we’ve been practicing, I feel really confident we can get both wins again this weekend.”