The soccer team looks to regain momentum as it heads into conference play after closing its nonconference schedule on a three-game losing streak.
Head Coach Beth Acreman said the last few weeks have showed areas that the team needs to make adjustments to.
“We have played against some different formations over the last three games, which we have had to be tough to adjust quickly to,” Acreman said. “I think we have a young group and we need to get better at adjusting quicker.”
The Racers got off to a rough start at Arkansas State, who found the back of the net in only the seventh minute.
The Red Wolves scored another goal nine minutes later to put Murray State behind 2-0 early in the match.
“We have to be able to make other teams adjust to us more than we have to adjust to them,” Acreman said. “Our team is willing to play hard; we just need to remain focused when we don’t have the ball early in games.”
The Racers cut the deficit in half as junior forward Julie Mooney found freshmen Lindey Hunt from the left side in the 35th minute. The goal by Hunt was her first goal of season, and the assist was Mooney’s third.
“(Lindey) did a fantastic job at remaining calm and slotting it in,” Acreman said.
The Red Wolves offense started off strong again in the second half. Arkansas State earned a corner kick and converted with a header in the 47th minute to extend the 3-1 lead.
Murray State tried to rally late, shooting four shots in the final 10 minutes, but the Racers were not able to score and lost to Arkansas State 3-1.
With the nonconference portion of the schedule behind it, the team now focuses on the second part of its season, OVC conference play.
“I think we have learned a lot from our first nine games,” Acreman said. “We have played against a lot of formations and have seen what our players are capable of.”
The team opens OVC play with a pair of home games, something Acreman says her team will be glad to return to.
“It will be great to get back for some home games,” Acreman said. “I think we have missed being on (Cutchin Field) and will be looking forward to being with our home fans.”
The Racers open with SEMO, who comes off its first victory of the season. The Redhawks are 1-4-1 on the season and have only scored four goals, but Acreman says that doesn’t matter.
After playing Southeast Missouri, the Racers welcome two-time defending OVC champion UT Martin, who is 2-6-1 coming into the weekend.
“Both teams will be tough competition,” Acreman said. “I don’t think nonconference game results mean much once you start OVC play, so we will be preparing for two tough games against good teams.”
The team opens up its conference play with SEMO Friday at 3 p.m. and UT Martin Sunday at 1 p.m. on Cutchin Field.
Story by Tom Via, Staff Writer