Two wins put Racers above the .500 mark
Story by Mark McFarland, Contributing writer
Murray State soccer started its home schedule this weekend with two wins against Louisiana Tech 1-0 and Middle Tennessee State 2-0.
After a rainy start before Louisiana Tech, the game got underway Friday as the Racers came out of the gate to get back over the .500 mark.
The team was eager to impress the home fans with 11 shots in the first half. Sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Haworth only allowed two shots against in the first half with both shots saved.
Heading into the second half it was still deadlocked at zero as neither team could push through the tough defense and goalkeeping.
Junior midfielder Taylor Richerson said Haworth saved the team multiple times as she came up with big saves throughout the entire game. She also said Haworth stepped up when the defense might have lacked.
At the end of the second half the game was tied at zero with many of the players looking dejected. However, they did not let that affect them as they came out strong, only allowing Louisiana Tech to cross midfield just a few times. Two minutes into overtime Richerson put the ball through the Louisiana Tech defense and past the keeper, for her second goal of the year, to secure the victory for the Racers.
“Well, honestly, I didn’t even know we were going into overtime,” Richerson said. “So everyone was pretty down that we were going to end in a tie, I didn’t think I had a good game and after that shot it just lifted them up.”
The Racers could celebrate for the night, but had to quickly refocus for their game Sunday, against Middle Tennessee State. MTSU came into the game with a record of 4-1-1.
The Racers again came out strong to start the game rattling off four shots and one goal in the first 10 minutes.
The goal was scored by leading goal scorer sophomore forward Harriet Withers, who shot her third goal of the year in the 10th minute of game.
This moment came after a save from Haworth and passed to Richerson. Withers was then hit with a long ball, which created a one-on-one opportunity. Withers beat the keeper to put the Racers up 1-0.
After the first goal, the Racers continued to battle MTSU, who kept up the fast paced nature of the game. The Racers ended the half with a 13-3 lead in shots and a one goal advantage.
Keeping up the offensive and defensive pressure it was clear MTSU was not going to come back. MTSU continued to battle putting up eight shots in the second half lead by senior Tori Hawkins.
It took until the 83rd minute for anyone to reach the scoreboard as the Racers once again sealed victory with their latest goal.
Set up by a pass from sophomore forward, Destiny White to senior defender and midfielder, Taylor Stevens who put it past the MTSU keeper and into the back of the net, scoring her first goal of the season.
Head Coach Jeremy Groves attributes the successful weekend to the players enthusiasm of being home. “I think they are excited,” Groves said. “When we played at Little Rock they had a bunch of fans there and it was a great atmosphere, so to come home and have such a great following was huge for us.”
The Racers improved their record to 4-2 and are preparing to earn a winning streak on the road with two games against Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis on Sept. 20 and Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 24. The Racers return home to play St. Louis University at 1 p.m. on Sept. 27 at Cutchin Field.