After narrowly missing several opportunities in the second half, Southeast Missouri State's women's soccer team needed a penalty kick goal in the final two minutes to squeeze by visiting Iowa 2-1 Sunday at Houck Stadium.
After an Iowa defender was issued a red card after using her hand to save Nicole Bussman's shot in the penalty box, Southeast's Lisa Schweppe delivered the winning goal on a penalty kick with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining.
Southeast, coming off a 1-0 loss to Evansville on Friday, improved to 4-2 with the victory. Iowa, a member of the Big Ten conference, fell to 1-5-1.
"We didn't play well on Friday," Southeast coach Heather Nelson said, "and we all decided it was time for them to step up. I thought everyone contributed significantly today."
Less than two minutes into the second half, Bussman received a pass from Blair Schuppan and sent it into the corner of the goal to break a scoreless tie.
The aggressiveness picked up from that point on, as the officials issued three yellow cards and whistled 18 fouls after the first goal.
Southeast goalie Lindsay Pickering had four saves on the day, including a leaping stop 20 minutes into the second half, but Iowa's Kelsey Shaw put a shot by Pickering on a rebound from a corner kick at the 70-minute mark to knot the score.
Southeast created numerous chances to break the tie, including a free kick from Schweppe that was saved by diving Iowa goalkeeper Erin MacIsaac, before the hand-ball that set up the winning penalty kick.
The Redhawks' offense looked sluggish in the first half, attempting only two shots, but Southeast dominated the second half, controlling the ball the majority of the time and outshooting Iowa 5-1.
"In the first half you have to wear each other down," Nelson said. "In the second half, we were looking for speed, working the ball outside and dropping it over the top. We put Nicole up there, and she did a good job for us."
Nelson said although Iowa has won only one game, defeating a Big Ten team was crucial for the Redhawks, who enter Ohio Valley Conference play Friday at home against Eastern Illinois.
"I wanted a good performance today to be ready for Friday," she said. "A tie would not be good enough, and a win would be unacceptable."
Nelson added she's looking for the conference to be wide open this season.
"Samford's off to a great start, and EIU's off to a tough start, but they've played a very tough schedule. They're both good contenders," she said. "From top to bottom, it should be extremely competitive. We just need to take it one game at a time."