Story by Quinnen Taylor, contributing writer
The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks were near avenging their OVC Championship loss to the Murray State Racers on their home field, until freshman Emma Heise had another idea.
Right as Redhawks goalkeeper Kindra Lierz lost control of a save, Heise tapped in a two-yard goal to tie the game in the 89th minute. After two overtimes, the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Murray State Head Coach Jeremy Groves said he was pleased with the resilience of his team.
“I was extremely happy with how our kids fought back,” Groves said. “We played in a tough environment here, it’s a tough place to come play, but I was really happy with our toughness and how we fought.”
The Racers took an early lead with junior Harriet Withers scoring the first goal at 14:54.
The Redhawks kept attacking, taking six shots with three shots on goal. They ended the game with a total of 25 shots and 13 shots on goal.
The Racers held the 1-0 lead in the first half but took only three shots with one being on goal.
In the second half, SEMO lead off with a goal by Natasha Minor to tie the game 1-1 at 72:20, and minutes later a second goal by Esmeralda Gonzales made the score 2-1 in favor of the Redhawks.
At 89:26, Emma Heise scored the second goal for the Racers to tie the game at 2-2.
Murray State’s junior goalkeeper Alex Steigerwald ended the game with 11 saves while the Redhawks had five in total.
Senior Ali Critcher said attacking on the offensive end is just as important as playing defense.
“We really need to work on keeping our formation down and getting numbers forward,” Critcher said. “We did really well defending but we really need to improve on getting forward.”
Despite a draw, Groves said they had found a key element that they needed so far in the season.
“We found our toughness back again,” Groves said. “I think in the early part of the season, it doesn’t matter who you play, the [University of Kentucky’s] of the world or our conference teams, you have to be tough and you have to be resilient.”
The Racers’ next contest will be Oct. 2. against the UT Martin Skyhawks on the road.