Redhawks help title hopes, top EKU 2-0

Monday, October 16, 2006

Southeast scored twice in the second half against the Colonels.

The young Southeast Missouri State women's soccer team has not performed nearly as consistently as coach Heather Nelson would like.

But as the parity-filled Ohio Valley Conference enters its final week of play, the Redhawks are still in contention for the regular-season championship.

Southeast made sure of that Sunday afternoon by scoring two late goals to beat visiting Eastern Kentucky 2-0.

The Redhawks improved to 7-6-1 overall and 4-2-1 in OVC play with two league matches remaining, Friday at Jacksonville State and Sunday at defending champion Samford.

Southeast is tied for second with Eastern Illinois in the 10-team OVC with 13 points. Samford leads with 17 points. In conference games, teams receive three points for a win and one point for a tie.

"The main thing today is that we got the three points," Nelson said. "Now we still have a chance to finish first."

Southeast needs to win its final two league games and hope Samford -- which closes with the Redhawks and Eastern Illinois -- either ties or loses against the Panthers.

"The way the conference has been this year ... there is no clear outcome anymore," Nelson said. "Anything can happen. All the teams are so even."

Southeast dominated play against Eastern Kentucky (2-11-1, 0-5-2) but failed to score for the first 65-plus minutes.

Finally, with 24:30 remaining, freshman Lauren Lacopo got her first collegiate goal, with an assist from freshman Cassie Brown.

"She's all about work," Nelson said of Lacopo. "She is probably one of our fittest players."

Another freshman rounded out the scoring as Rachel Harrington -- the Redhawks' backup keeper who sees some spot duty on the field -- recorded her second goal of the season with 1:27 remaining. It was unassisted, as Harrington put in a rebound after a Casey Kraft shot hit the crossbar.

"She [Harrington] makes thing happen when she's out there," Nelson said.

The Redhawks outshot the Colonels 23-5 and had an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks.

"We're creating a lot of chances, but we're still working on the composure of finishing those chances," Nelson said. "We're a young team and we need to mature as quickly as possible."

Southeast keeper Lindsay Pickering recorded her seventh shutout of the season. She made just four saves, but several were dazzling.

Eastern Kentucky keeper Christina Graul was credited with 13 saves, many of those also spectacular.

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