10/24/2008 12:00:00 AM
Redhawks Battle for OVC Tournament Berth This Weekend
Oct. 24, 2008
By Brett Maikowski, Soccer Contact
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Southeast Missouri State soccer will close out their regular season this Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Panthers of Eastern Illinois. A win this weekend is vital for the Redhawks to remain in the hunt for a place in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The only time Southeast hasn't made the OVC Tournament was in the program's first year in 1999.
A win isn't guaranteed to get the Redhawks into the tournament though, as they are going to need some help this weekend from Eastern Illinois and Jacksonville State. JSU will be going up against second and third place Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky this weekend and will need to lose to both of these schools for Southeast to continue to have a chance of earning the sixth and final tournament berth.
The Redhawks don't have to rely on other OVC teams for them to overtake the Panthers of EIU though. A simple win on Sunday will move them one place closer to getting into the tournament.
Scouting the Redhawks
Southeast is coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss to Tennessee Tech last weekend after shutting out Austin Peay, 2-0, two days prior. On the offensive end, Casey Kraft leads the team with three goals and six points for the year. Ashley Runion joins Kraft on offense and leads the team in shots with 31 although she is still awaiting her first goal of the season.
In goal, Jessica Beckham will look to earn her third victory of her career this weekend after capturing her second shutout against Austin Peay last week. Currently, Beckham sits in the top five in the OVC in goals against average (1.06) and is sixth in save percentage (.803) and saves (4.38).
Scouting the Panthers
For Eastern Illinois, Pam Melinauskas and Rachel Hamilton have taken control of the offense as they lead the team in shots with 30 and 28, respectively. Melinauskas has two goals and four points this season, which tops the lists in both categories for the Panthers. Although they have only scored four goals this year, EIU still has one more conference victory than SEMO because of their defense, which hasn't been letting many goals go by lately.
On the defensive side, goalkeeper Kaylin Lobert leads the OVC in save percentage (.862) after posting two shutouts in her last two contests. In the 110 minutes of action, she has recorded a total of 17 saves with nine coming against Austin Peay and eight from Tennessee Tech. Eastern Illinois will be looking to go for their fourth straight shutout of the season against Southeast on Sunday.
The Panthers currently lead the series between them and the Redhawks by an 8-3-2 mark. Southeast gave Eastern Illinois its first loss in six contests between the two schools last year after winning by a 4-2 margin at Houck Stadium. Ashley Runion contributed one of the goals in last year's victory and will look to add more to her total on Sunday.