Redhawks' season ends with loss to Panthers

Monday, October 27, 2008

The two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference soccer tournament champions will not be around to pursue a third title.

On Sunday, Southeast Missouri State needed a victory against Eastern Illinois and a Jacksonville State loss to Eastern Kentucky to qualify for the tournament. Only the second half of the equation materialized.

Eastern Kentucky defeated Jacksonville State 2-0, but the Redhawks' worst season in program history ended Sunday with a 2-1 loss at Eastern Illinois.

Pam Melinauskas and Sam Kohen netted first-half goals for Eastern Illinois. Southeast fired 15 shots in the second half, but only netted a late goal by Casey Kraft.

The loss closed Southeast's season at 2-9-3 overall and 1-5-2 in OVC play, as the Redhawks missed the conference for the first time since 1999 -- the first year for the program.

Melinauskas got a shot past Southeast goalkeeper Jessica Beckham in the 17th minute, and Kohen followed with her first career goal in the 22nd minute.

Kraft scored her fourth goal in the 80th minute.

Eastern Illinois (3-12-2, 3-4-1) tied Tennessee Tech for fifth in the OVC tournament and qualified for the six-team tournament.

Eastern Illinois will play No. 4 Morehead State in Tuesday's first round, while No. 3 Tennessee-Martin faces No. 6 Tennessee Tech. Top-seeded Murray State and No. 2 Eastern Kentucky received first-round byes.

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