Southeast women's soccer begins regular season with 2 OT victory

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Redhawks beat Indiana State 1-0

The Southeast Missouri State women's soccer team is off on the right foot as it tries to bounce back from a disappointing season.

Southeast opened the 2009 campaign with Friday night's 1-0, double-overtime victory over Indiana State at Houck Stadium.

"It's nice to win the first one," Southeast coach Heather Nelson said.

The 2008 Redhawks suffered just their second losing season in the first 10 years of the program, going 2-9-3 and finishing last in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Nelson, a three-time OVC coach of the year who has a 103-56-21 record since starting the program in 1999, is confident the 2009 Redhawks will get back on track.

Southeast showed signs of that Friday, getting the better of play against the Missouri Valley Conference opponent with a 13-7 advantage in shots. That includes a 9-4 edge after halftime.

"I think we showed significant improvement from last weekend [in exhibition play] and I also think we improved from the first half to the second half tonight," Nelson said. "I'm very excited about that. I think we started dominating the game the longer it went on."

But it still took a long time for the Redhawks to finally score as junior Ashley Runion headed in a corner kick from sophomore Nikki Edwards 3 minutes, 40 seconds into the second and final 10-minute overtime period.

"It was a really nicely timed header," Nelson said of the lone goal. "Ashley drove the ball well into the corner."

It was Runion's 13th career goal, including 11 in 2007 when she was the OVC freshman of the year. For Edwards, it was her first career point.

Kaitlyn Smugala, one of five true freshmen to start for Southeast in the opener, made two saves for her first collegiate shutout.

"I think our freshman goalkeeper did a very, very good job," Nelson said.

Southeast plays the second of four straight home games to start the season Sunday when defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Evansville visits Houck Stadium for a 6 p.m. start.

"They'll be a very good opponent," Nelson said. "We are looking to bring our best effort and have this weekend be very successful."

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