Murray State soccer opened up conference play on the right track defeating rival Austin Peay Sunday.
The Racers (3-5-0, 1-0-0 OVC) took to the road for their first Ohio Valley Conference game in Clarksville, Tenn., against the Lady Govs (4-6-0, 0-1-0 OVC). Senior defender Veronika Pribyslavska scored her fifth goal of the season in the contest to give the Racers a 1-0 victory.
Her goal came in the 69th minute as she took a shot from 25 yards out and beat the keeper in the upper right corner.
Her goal gave the Racers their third consecutive win, a first road win and broke a two-game losing streak against Austin-Peay.
“The girls played tough,” Head Coach Beth Acreman said. “Obviously with it being our first conference game, we knew going in that we had to play hard and really commit defensively. It was great to see Veronika get another goal and really pleased to get the shutout on a very good attacking Austin Peay team.”
The Racer defense came up big again as it only allowed two shots in the first period and 12 during the game.
Freshman goalkeeper Latesha Stevenson recorded her third straight shutout win, saving six shots.
“I think the defensive unit has been working much harder in the last three games,” Acreman said. “They have physically committed themselves to taking care of the opposition and making sure they concentrate for 90 minutes. It has been great to have three shutouts in a row and we will be pushing them to continue training and working hard.”
As a result of the team’s defensive performance, freshman defender Halle Pinkman won the ADIDAS OVC-Defensive Player of the Week award for the second week in a row. Pinkman has played in all 295 scoreless minutes for the Racers.
Although the team has started hitting their stride on both sides of the ball, they will face the two toughest teams in the OVC, according to a preseason poll, in Southeast Missouri State University (1-6-0) and University of Tennessee-Martin (3-4-2) in their next two games.
UT-Martin was picked to finish first and SEMO was picked to finish second in the poll.
“We know both games will be hard,” Acreman said. “We will have intense training this week to prepare. We have to continue to learn from our mistakes as we know going up against these two teams will be a challenge. Our young players are learning every match and I will be pushing every player to get better from game to game.”
The Racers will take to the road at 6:30 p.m. today against SEMO. They travel to UT-Martin Sunday afternoon, with a kickoff staring the game at 2 p.m.
Nick Dolan, Staff writer