Racer soccer clinches third-straight OVC crown

Photo by Chalice Keith/TheNews

Story by Gage Johnson, Staff writer

The Racers clinched their third-straight regular season OVC title by defeating Eastern Illinois with a score of 1-0 on a game-winning goal by freshman forward Rebecca Kubin.

Murray State entered the game 11-1-2 overall and with a conference record of 6-0-2.  The win not only pushed them to 30-straight undefeated conference games, it also kept them at first in the conference standings leading into the postseason.

Eastern Illinois entered their final game of the regular season on a three-game losing streak, with a 5-11-2 overall record.  The Panthers also came into the game with a 0-8-1 conference record.

The Racers came out of the gates aggressively, firing off 11 shots in the first half of play.  The Panthers held their own, keeping Murray State off the scoreboard.  With Eastern Illinois unable to convert on three shots in the half, the game went into the second half scoreless.

The intensity only increased as play continued in the second half.  Murray State’s defense managed to hold Eastern Illinois to one shot in the half.  They did so while taking 19 more shots, recording 30 total shots to the Panthers’ four.  They were able to put one on the scoreboard in the 76th minute of play, when Kubin scored her fifth goal of the season from about 30 yards out, giving the Racers a 1-0 lead.  Murray State would hold off Eastern Illinois’ offense to earn a1-0 victory.

Head Coach Jeremy Groves has led the Racers to three-straight regular season OVC titles, and is extremely proud of how his team has performed this season.  

“We’re 12-1-2 right now,” said Groves.  “It’s an unbelievable accomplishment.  I’m really proud of our team this season.  They’ve worked hard and have done a really good job.”

Kubin said getting the opportunity to score the game-winning goal after years of watching the team from afar was a tremendous feeling.

“Winning a championship my freshman year is a really exciting thing,” Kubin said.  “Scoring the game winning goal is really good feeling.  When they won in 2015, I was here, and I was here last year when they won it.  I couldn’t wait to be a part of it, and now I am.”

Murray State will close out the regular season when they take on a Southern Illinois-Edwardsville team that beat them in the OVC tournament championship game last year. The game will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Cutchin Field.