Southeast Missouri State soccer team blanks Arkansas State

Monday, August 29, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Jessie Crabtree, left, scores with a header against Arkansas State goalkeeper Aja Aguirre during the second half Sunday at Houck Stadium. Southeast's Torey Byrd looks on. (Fred Lynch)

The Southeast Missouri State women's soccer team has just one home date among its first nine matches this season.

So the Redhawks were focused Sunday on taking advantage of their only Houck Stadium appearance until September 30. Southeast responded with a 4-0 rout of Arkansas State.

Southeast improved to 2-1, while ASU fell to 2-1-1.

"I think it was important to start well at home, get a good result before we go back on the road again for a few more weeks," senior midfielder Vanessa Hart said. "I was impressed."

Southeast had won its five previous meetings with ASU by shutout, including 1-0 last year on the road. But the Red Wolves entered Sunday's game unbeaten, having defeated Mississippi State of the Southeastern Conference.

Southeast Missouri State's Stephanie Palmer kicks to score against Arkansas State during the second half for the fourth team goal Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 at Houck Field. Southeast's Vanessa Hart looks on. (Fred Lynch)

"It's very exciting to have a good result like that against a competitive team," Hart said.

Southeast dominated for most of the 90 minutes, outshooting ASU 18-4 and having at least a half-dozen other strong scoring chances in addition to its four goals.

"I was really impressed with everyone," senior forward Jessie Crabtree said.

The Redhawks returned 17 letterwinners from last season and added several key newcomers.

Two Southeast rookies continued to make their mark Sunday.

Southeast Missouri State's Torey Byrd tries to gain control of the ball in front of Arkansas State's Ashley Jackson during the first half Sunday at Houck Field. (Fred Lynch)

Crabtree, a speedy transfer from the University of Missouri where she was a key player the past three years, scored her third goal of the season.

"I wanted to be closer to my family," said the Marion, Ill., native of her reason for coming to Southeast. "I'm very excited about being here. I think we have a really good chance to win the conference."

Freshman forward Erin Shulman, another speedy addition to the Redhawks, scored Southeast's first two goals Sunday. She and Crabtree are tied for the team lead in goals.

"I wasn't expecting this at all," Shulman, a native of Bloomington, Ill., said about her fast start. "It feels good, though."

Crabtree and Shulman already have formed a strong connection on the field. They found each other several times with nifty passes during Sunday's game.

"As newcomers they have really impacted our program," Southeast coach Heather Nelson said. "I'm amazed at how quickly they've jelled. They've only been playing together a matter of weeks."

Shulman, listed at 5 foot 1, is a high-energy player who quickly has made herself a pest to Southeast opponents.

"Erin really stepped up. I was proud of her," Crabtree said.

Hart, a senior from Australia who missed last season with a knee injury, assisted on both of Shulman's goals, which came in the first 20 minutes. Southeast led 2-0 at halftime.

"It feels really good to be back on the field," Hart said.

Sophomore midfielder Rachel Compton assisted on Southeast's final two goals. Crabtree scored early in the second half and sophomore forward Stephanie Palmer netted her first goal of the season with less than four minutes remaining.

"I was very pleased with our performance," Nelson said. "I thought our possession was good and we were very solid at the back."

Southeast has eight goals in three matches. The Redhawks' lone loss was 2-1 at Iowa of the Big Ten Conference.

"They're a fun team to watch because we create a lot of opportunities," Nelson said. "We have a lot of threats."

Freshman midfielder Torey Byrd also earnied her first collegiate helper on Shulman's first goal.

"I thought Torey Byrd had a very good game," Nelson said.

Shulman had several solid second-half opportunities to complete a hat track but failed to connect. That didn't disappoint her in the least.

"No," she said. "I'm happy we finished off with a good win."

Sophomore Ashton Aubuchon played the first 81-plus minutes in goal before sophomore Jessica Grindstaff finished off the shutout. They combined for three routine saves.

The match was played in front of an announced crowd of nearly 500 fans, which the Redhawks appreciated.

"I had to turn up and look in the stands to see the people we had today," Nelson said. "The fans provided a very positive buzz. It was great to see our student-athletes perform so well for the crowd."

Southeast returns to action Friday at Evansville.

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