SEMO roundup 10/25/03

Saturday, October 25, 2003

When Southeast Missouri State University and Eastern Illinois square off in women's soccer, down-to-the-wire games are generally the rule.

But the exception took place Friday night -- a 3-0 EIU romp that officially ended Southeast's hopes of a third straight Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championship.

By winning in front of about 250 fans at Houck Stadium, the visiting Panthers improved to 9-4-4 overall and 5-0-2 in OVC play as they remained in the thick of the conference title picture. EIU entered play Friday in second place, just one point behind Samford.

The Otahkians fell to 8-5-4 overall and 3-3-1 in the OVC as they remained in fourth place among nine teams.

"It was a disappointing game for us," said Southeast coach Heather Nelson, whose squad has been ravaged by injuries this season. "Traditionally our games with Eastern have been one-goal games."

Southeast beat EIU by one goal in each of the past two regular seasons, and the Panthers defeated the Otahkians by one goal in each of the last two OVC Tournament finals.

"I'm very surprised by the score," EIU coach Steve Ballard said. "The ball went into the net for us tonight and that's very important.

"This is a tremendous rivalry. Both teams have a great deal of respect for each other. I know when tournament time comes, coach Nelson is going to have her team ready."

EIU star Beth Liesen was Southeast's primary obstacle Friday. The senior scored two goals, raising her OVC-leading total to 17.

"I feel like she's an All-American," Ballard said. "We're going to miss her."

Like her coach, Liesen expected a tight game.

"It's surprising. It's a big rivalry and it's a fun game to play. You have to be up for it," Liesen said. "We came out and played good."

Said Nelson, "You have to hand it to Beth Liesen. She's on fire this year. She's always been a very good player, but I think being a senior, she's extra motivated this year."

Southeast actually had a good chance to break on top early but freshman Molli Beard hit the goalpost about six minutes into the game.

Liesen gave EIU a 1-0 lead 9:23 into the contest and Audra Frericks scored with 22:55 left before halftime for a 2-0 advantage at the break.

Liesen's goal with 9:55 remaining in the second half rounded out the scoring.

EIU held a 15-11 edge in total shots. Panthers goalkeeper Tiffany Groene made six saves to record the shutout. Southeast keeper Amanda Wrzos made 10 saves.Volleyball romps

Southeast's volleyball team followed up Tuesday's big win over OVC leader Murray State by rolling past visiting Tennessee-Martin 30-26, 30-12, 30-21 Friday night.

The Otahkians improved to 8-16 overall and 7-4 in OVC play as they claimed their third straight victory. The Skyhawks fell to 4-20 and 2-7.

Sarah Frost led Southeast in kills with 14, while Suzanne Gundlach and Jamie Baumstark added 10 apiece. Gundlach had 15 digs, followed by Jill Miller with 12 and Baumstark with 11.

Senior setter Emily Scannell had 36 assists to move into second place on the school's career list. She also contributed four service aces.

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