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Redhawks strike early in 1-0 win against Eastern Illinois
A mistake by Eastern Illinois gave Southeast Missouri State an early opportunity.
Courtney Luehmann made EIU pay and the Redhawks made Luehmann's goal off a free kick stand up.
Luehmann's 18-yard blast from the edge of the penalty box in the 14th minute Sunday lifted Southeast to a 1-0 win at Houck Stadium.
Southeast, starting a three-game homestand, improved to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in OVC play with its second straight victory. EIU is 4-7-2 and 1-2.
"It was a big win for us," Southeast coach Heather Nelson said.
Just 13 minutes, 36 seconds into the contest, EIU goalkeeper Kaylin Lorbert was whistled for catching a ball outside the penalty box.
While the Panthers protested, Nelson said the ruling was correct.
"She caught it outside [the box] and jumped back in. Fortunately the linesman was on his game," Nelson said.
Lorbert's miscue came on a relatively harmless ball.
The infraction gave Southeast a free kick and Luehmann made no mistake, crushing a shot past EIU's wall of defenders that settled into the upper right corner.
"I just relaxed and tried to hit the top corner," said Luehmann, a sophomore from Notre Dame Regional High School. "That's where it went."
Although neither team had many good scoring chances the rest of the way, Luehmann almost made it a two-goal day midway through the final half but her low left-footed shot headed for the right corner was knocked away by a diving Lorbert.
Luehmann used her natural right foot on the free kick.
"She's very good with both feet," Nelson said. "Their goalie made a fantastic save."
Luehmann started all but one game for Southeast last year as a freshman but did not score a goal while playing a defensive role.
Luehmann, who has started all 11 games this season, is playing more in the midfield area and she has three goals to rank third on the squad.
"She's dangerous on set pieces. She's become very technical," Nelson said. "She's certainly valuable as a midfielder. She's a ball winner."
While pleased to be scoring, Luehmann said defense is the key to the Redhawks as they have equaled their OVC win total from last season.
"We have a strong defense and go from there," Luehmann said.
Southeast's defense allowed EIU few solid opportunities before the Panthers had two dangerous chances in the final three minutes.
EIU failed to put shots on goal in those two late flurries as freshman keeper Ashton Aubuchon notched her second straight shutout and fourth of the season.
Aubuchon was credited with one save, while Lorbert made three saves. Southeast outshot EIU 16-10 in a defensive match.
"We've made some defensive changes and now we've had two straight shutouts," Nelson said.
Southeast, in third place in the OVC, will host Eastern Kentucky on Friday and Morehead State on Sunday. Those teams are tied for first at 3-0.