It was two different games, but the same result for the soccer team, which dropped a pair of conference games at Cutchin Field this weekend.
Murray State had 43 shots in two games but only scored three times, leaving Head Coach Beth Acreman and the team searching for answers.
“This was just a frustrating weekend,” Acreman said. “We get all these shots and prove we are a dangerous team, but just couldn’t finish plays.”
The weekend started with Southern Illinois Universty Edwardsville and while the Cougars outshot the Racers in the opening half, Murray State was ahead on the scoreboard.
Freshman Lyssie Wright passed to freshman forward Lauren Frazier, who scored in the 18th minute, giving the Racers an early 1-0 advantage.
However, it did not last long, as the Cougars crossed a ball into the Murray State 18-yard box and got it past freshman goalkeeper Savannah Haberman to tie the game.
Five minutes later, Murray State regained the lead when freshman Kenzie Downey found junior Julie Mooney, who put the ball past the Cougar goalie for her team-high sixth goal of the season.
Things looked promising for the team, but it all changed after an SIUE injury stopped the match. After a 15-minute delay, play resumed. However, momentum shifted to the Cougars.
SIUE scored two goals off set pieces just one minute after play resumed, putting the Racers behind 3-2 with 30 minutes to play.
“We had a great first half,” Acreman said. “And after the injury the team was just rattled for some reason.”
SIUE kept racking up goals, leaving Murray State reeling after a 5-2 defeat.
During its next game, the team responded to the loss with 29 shots against conference leader Eastern Illinois, but once again couldn’t get the goals it needed.
Even though the Racers led in shot total, Eastern Illinois made the most of their five opportunities on net.
The scoring opened with the Panthers shooting a laser from 25 yards out in the 24th minute to grab the 1-0 lead.
Murray State responded seven minutes later as Mooney found the back of the net for the second time over the weekend to tie the game.
Midway through the second half the Panthers took advantage of a Murray State communication error and scored the game-winning goal as their forward beat Haberman.
The Racers peppered the Panther goalkeeper with 11 shots in the second half, but couldn’t get any of them past her.
Murray State’s best scoring chance came on a header by senior Shauna Wicker, but the ball went right into the goalkeeper’s hands.
“We played really inspired, and getting 29 shots and 15 on goal is what we were going for today,” Acreman said. “It was just one of those days that the ball didn’t want to go in the goal.”
While the results have the Racers near the bottom of the conference, Mooney is near the top in two offensive categories.
Her seven goals have Mooney tied for second most in the conference, while she is also tied for the league lead with five assists.
“Other teams scout her, but she always seems to find a way to get chances,” Acreman said.
Acreman expects better results if the Racers can continue their aggressive offensive play.
“If the team can come out like the did (Sunday) and play that well, then they can beat anyone,” Acreman said.
The team has its longest road trip of the season, this weekend, with games at Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.
Story by Tom Via, Staff Writer