Postseason hopes end for soccer

Lori Allen/The News Senior midfielder Tasha Merritt strikes a ball in a game against Eastern Kentucky earlier this season.

Facing a pair of must-win games, the soccer team’s postseason aspirations ended with weekend shutout losses to Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.

Head Coach Beth Acreman said she was disappointed that the team would not be playing in the OVC tournament.

“I wish we had more games to play, as I feel we have a lot left to give,” she said.

The team traveled on one of its longest road trips of the season, to play the EKU Colonels Friday.

Murray State came out aggressive, knowing it needed goals in order to extend its hopes for the postseason.

The Colonels scored first in the 31st minute as a forward scored past freshman goalkeeper Savannah Haberman from 15 yards out.

“It was a poor clearance that didn’t get out of the box,” Acreman said. “It was a costly mistake, which was a shame, as we had held strong defensively to that point.”

The Racers tried to rally in the closing minutes of the first half, but only got four shots off.

“I would have liked to have seen more shots in the first half,” Acreman said. “We did come out a little cautious, and it took us about 20 minutes to settle down.”

In the second half, both teams played more aggressively. The Racers put four of their nine shots on the EKU goalkeeper, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

The Colonels scored an insurance goal in the 87th minute, which handed the Racers a 2-0 loss.

Going into the Sunday matchup with Morehead State, the team had to adjust to its opponent’s high-tempo pace.

The Racers handled it well in the first half, but in the second half the Eagles showed their speed and aggressive defense, limiting the Racers to one shot in the final 45 minutes.

The Racers’ postseason hopes were dashed as the Eagles scored the game-winning goal in the 57th minute to make it 1-0.

“We were finding it hard to get the ball out of the middle of the field in the second half, and that slowed down our ability to get the ball in shooting positions,” Acreman said.

The loss marks Murray State’s fifth conference game lost by a single goal.

Acreman said the losses in tight games come from inexperience.

“We are a good team but lack the ability to find a way to finish a team off, and this is due to our youth,” Acreman said. “We just need to have older heads on our shoulders when it comes to conference games.”

Murray State has two games remaining this season, and Acreman expects the team to continue performing at a high standard.

“We just need to use these next two weeks to keep moving forward in our growth as a group,” Acreman said.

Murray State makes its final road trip of the season at 7 p.m. today as the Racers take on Jacksonville State in Alabama.

 

Story by Tom Via, Staff Writer