Racers down Belmont to remain perfect in conference play

Story by Gage Johnson, Staff writer

Murray State traveled to Belmont on Sunday, where Alex Steigerwald earned her seventh shutout of the season in a game that ended 1-0 in the Racers’ favor.

The Racers came into the game 10-1-2 and 5-0-2 in conference play with Head Coach Jeremy Groves back on the sideline, after having to sit out last game due to a red card against Eastern Kentucky.  

Belmont came in looking to move up in the conference standings, sitting at second in the OVC with a 5-2-0 conference record and a 9-4-1 overall record.  With the win, they would move into contention for a one or two seed in the OVC tournament.  Not only would this hurt the Racers chance at a one or two seed for the conference tournament, it would diminish the chances of an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.  

The Bruins also came in on a three-game win streak, as well as scoring at least two goals in their last six games.  Groves spoke about the game plan to stop Belmont’s offensive success.

“Obviously they’re playing very well right now,” Groves said.  “We just have to make sure that we shut down their better players.”

Both teams started quickly, firing off a combined total of five shots in the first fifteen minutes of play. Neither offenses were able to get anything going as the half went on to end in a 0-0 tie.

After the scoreless half, emotions were high in the opening minutes, as four fouls were called consecutively on Murray State, followed by a fifth on Belmont.

But after 64 minutes of play, the Racers struck first on sophomore forward Miyah Watford’s fourth goal of the season to claim a 1-0 lead.

Belmont’s offense was unable to get anything going throughout the rest of the second half, and Murray State clinched the 1-0 victory.  Groves was pleased with how their defense played against a team with such a talented offense.

“We did what we usually do,” Groves said.  “We have good players and we have good defenders.  We are solid.  I never thought the game was in question once we scored.  We know how to shut games down now.”

The Racers’ win propelled them to a 27th place RPI ranking in the poll released on Monday, Oct. 16.

The win also improves the Racers to 6-0-2 in OVC play and 11-1-2 overall.  Having not lost in 29 straight regular season conference games, Murray State can add to their streak when they play Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, at Cutchin Field.