Southeast Missouri State University women's soccer coach Heather Nelson admits that her team has not exactly faced a murderous schedule so far.
But there is no denying just how dominant the Otahkians have been during the early part of the 2001 season.
The Otahkians recorded their third straight shutout Friday afternoon by blanking visiting Arkansas-Little Rock 3-0 in front of 143 fans at Houck Stadium. In three games, Southeast has scored 10 goals while allowing none.
"For us, we just need to be make sure we consistently play at a high level. We can't worry about our opponents," said Nelson. "I'm really pleased with what we've done. To be 3-0 and have three shutouts, they're making it easy for me so far."
Nelson knows the Otahkians' schedule will get tougher in a hurry. Southeast should post another victory Sunday when winless Division II squad Central Arkansas comes to Houck Stadium for a 2 p.m. game, but Tuesday the Otahkians visit Drury -- which beat them last year -- and next weekend they play at Indiana State and Indiana, both solid programs.
Southeast dominated Friday's game against the 0-4 Trojans, but it took the Otahkians nearly 40 minutes to get on the scoreboard.
With just over five minutes left in the first half, Erika Todd scored her third goal of the season, on an assist from Lauren Zacheis. It was 1-0 at halftime.
Midway through the second half, freshman Erin Slattery got her third goal of the season, unassisted, to make it 2-0. Nichole Thiele closed out the scoring with just over five minutes left as she got her third goal of the year, with assists from Slattery and Michelle Frossard.
"We started out a little slow, but we put it together," said Thiele, a Cape Girardeau Central High School product who is one of only two seniors on a young Southeast squad. "I'm really excited about the season. We've got a lot of depth and we should do well."
Goalkeeper Beth Guccione, the other senior, recorded her third straight shutout as she had to make only two saves. Southeast held a 14-4 edge in shots and attempted 11 corner kicks to none for the Trojans.