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Austin Peay hands first OVC loss to Southeast Missouri State soccer team
Pupil got the better of mentor Sunday afternoon.
Austin Peay soccer coach Kelly Guth was happy about that but said she always has mixed emotions when going up against Southeast Missouri State coach Heather Nelson.
"She's my mentor. She was my coach in college," Guth said. "She and her family are like my second family. It's always bittersweet matching up with them."
Guth's Governors slipped past the host Redhawks 1-0 in an Ohio Valley Conference contest witnessed by nearly 300 fans at Houck Stadium.
Southeast fell to 2-7-3 overall and 1-1-1 in OVC play. Austin Peay is 5-7 and 1-2.
"I thought it was a great game," said Nelson, whose squad was shut out two days after it exploded offensively during a 6-0 rout of Murray State. "Austin Peay is a very good team. They are technical and quick. They have a lot of players who can attack. It's unfortunate we came out on the short end of the stick."
Guth played under Nelson at Florida State before Nelson started Southeast's program in 1999. Guth spent 2000 and 2001 as a Southeast assistant under Nelson, then left to start Austin Peay's program in 2002.
"We have a good mutual respect for each other," Nelson said.
The Govs entered Sunday's matchup just 2-9-1 all-time against Southeast and never had won in Cape Girardeau.
"We tied them once here," Guth said. "It was a great game. SEMO is a very good team. It was great for our team to get that result."
Austin Peay had the better of play early, but Southeast senior keeper Renee Kertz kept the Govs off the board with several impressive saves.
Kertz made a spectacular save about 12 minutes into the contest when she leaped to punch a shot just over the crossbar.
"It was outstanding. She's very athletic," Nelson said. "She played very well. We just made a mistake at the back, and we paid for it."
Nelson was referring to the game's only goal that came a little less than 15 minutes into the second half.
Morgan Zigelsky played a long ball past Southeast's defense and Emily Perkins barely won a race to the ball with Kertz. Perkins' shot trickled into the lower left corner of the net.
The Redhawks turned up the offensive pressure over the final 30 minutes and created several dangerous scoring opportunities.
"We had a couple of chances we could have capitalized on," junior Amy Ward said.
Ward's cross found freshman Ashley Geist near the goal with about 22 minutes left, but Geist shot just wide.
Junior Jacey Boyko's cross with under 14 minutes remaining bounced to senior Courtney Luehmann near an open net, but the ball took a tricky hop and Luehmann could not control it well as her shot went wide.
"We had two great chances at the back post," Nelson said. "It we place those on goal, we probably score goals. The team picked it up as the game went on, which is a credit to their heart and how fit they are."
Both teams attempted 14 shots, but the Govs held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Kertz made eight saves, while Austin Peay keeper Haylee Shoaff recorded six saves in the shutout.
"Our girls really stepped up and really executed our game plan well today," Guth said.
Nelson, despite the loss, feels good about how the Redhawks are playing these days and how they've handled all the adversity they've faced.
"I always thought Austin Peay and Tennessee-Martin would be two of the top teams [in the OVC]," said Nelson, whose squad battled Tennessee-Martin to a 1-1 tie last week. "I feel like we've played two of the toughest teams."
Southeast returns to action Friday, visiting SIU Edwardsville for a 7 p.m. OVC contest.