The Southeast Missouri State women's soccer team's inspiring late-season run ended Friday in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
Host and top-seed Tennessee-Martin eliminated fourth-seeded Southeast from the six-team tournament with a 1-0 victory in Martin, Tenn.
Southeast ended the year with a 7-10-4 record while the OVC regular-season champion Skyhawks improved to 12-5-3.
UTM broke a scoreless tie with a goal a little more than 21 minutes into the second half. Mary Thompson took a corner kick from Hannah McGowen and fired a shot into the upper right corner from point-blank range.
The Skyhawks outshot the Redhawks 12-4 and held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Southeast senior keeper Renee Kertz was credited with four saves, including a diving stop with less than seven minutes remaining to keep the Redhawks within striking distance.
UTM keeper Mariah Klenke made three saves but Southeast never seriously threatened the Skyhawks' net.
"I thought this was a great game today," Southeast coach Heather Nelson said in a release. "It was unfortunate that UT Martin got a goal off a set piece, but this was a competitive game at both ends of the field."
Southeast, which beat Belmont 1-0 in Thursday's opening round, lost for the first time in its past seven games. The Redhawks had been 5-0-1 in their previous six contests.
Nelson had few complaints after a season that saw Southeast overcome all kinds of adversity.
The Redhawks were hit with the horrific tragedy of Meg Herndon's death in September, and they also lost several top players due to injury. They fought through it all to finish fourth in the 11-team conference's regular season.
"I'm just proud of everything the girls have achieved this year," Nelson said.
UTM will play second-seeded Austin Peay in today's 1 p.m. championship game. The winner earns an NCAA tournament berth.
Southeast split two weekend matches on the road as the Redhawks missed out on an opportunity to clinch the OVC West Division title.
The Redhawks beat Murray State 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22 Friday before falling to Austin Peay 19-25, 20-25, 25-23, 27-25, 15-7 Saturday.
Southeast (18-12, 10-4 OVC) leads Austin Peay (16-14, 9-5) by one game. Both teams have two matches remaining.
Junior Emily Coon tied a school record with 12 blocks against Murray State. She also had 16 kills.
"Emily did a great job, they had no way of stopping her and she found ways to make plays," Southeast coach Julie Folliard said in a release.
Junior Colleen Yarber matched Coon with 16 kills. She added 11 digs.
Junior setter Julie Shives tied her career high with 53 assists. She also had 12 digs.
Junior Berkley Idel led Southeast in digs with 24.
Murray State senior Wendi Zickfield, a Central High School graduate, had season highs of 16 kills and 17 digs. She has three straight double-doubles.
Coon had a career-high 21 kills against Austin Peay and added six blocks but the Govs rallied after losing the first two games.
Shives recorded 45 assists and 19 digs.
Yarber had 11 kills and 17 digs.
Idel paced the Redhawks in digs with 21.
Southeast visits Tennessee-Martin Tuesday for a 6 p.m. OVC match.
-- From staff reports