Soccer prepares for battle on home turf

Bryan Edwards/The News

Story by Gage Johnson, Contributing writer

After improving their record to 7-1-1 this week, Murray State’s soccer team will look to hold onto their undefeated conference record with two home games this weekend.

The Racers went up against Tennessee Tech on the road on Sep. 21, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie after two overtime periods.  They traveled back home on Sunday and added a win to the books against Jacksonville State with a 3-0 victory, improving their conference record to 2-0-1 and their overall record to 7-1-1.

During the Jacksonville State game, senior forward Harriet Withers scored her 34th goal of the season, tying the school record for career goals currently held by Theresa Reedy (2001-2004).  Despite recording such a prolific milestone, Withers said there was only one thing on her mind.

“It’s always about the team for me,” said Withers.  “As long as we’re getting the win, that’s what really matters.”

Going into the week, Murray State will stay at home and host Southeast Missouri State at 3 p.m. on Thursday.  SEMO comes into the game struggling with a 4-5-2 record and will be looking to get over the below-.500 hump.  SEMO has not had an easy schedule by any means, taking a loss to the likes of a 7-4 University of Louisville team and a 7-1-2 Mississippi State team.  The Redhawks are hoping to improve their conference record 1-1-2 when they face off against the Racers.

Murray State will then be hosting UT Martin at 3 p.m. on Sunday.  UT Martin isn’t far behind SEMO with a 4-7-2 record.  Despite their record, the Skyhawks have held their own in conference play.  They are 2-2 in OVC games, defeating Jacksonville State and SEMO while losing to Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.

If the Racers manage to add two conference victories to their record, they would improve to 4-0-1 in conference and 9-1-1 overall. They would also have a chance to raise their RPI ranking of 54, which is not only the highest it has been since Head Coach Jeremy Groves took over the program but also the highest in program history. Groves is confident his team can keep up their high level of play.

“We just have to make sure we prepare and just keep doing things that have made us successful,” said Groves.

Murray State will look to do just that against SEMO at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, and take on UT Martin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1.