No. 5: Soccer Overcomes Tragedy to Make OVC Semifinals.
7/12/2013 9:40:00 AM
#SETop10 No. 5: Soccer Overcomes Tragedy to Make OVC Semifinals
GoSoutheast.com is looking back on the 2012-13 year and counting down the Redhawks' top 10 moments this month. Today we reveal the #SETop10's fifth-best moment of the year.
Legendary Green Bay Packers' head coach Vince Lombardi once said "it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." Truer words were never spoken to the 2012 Southeast Missouri soccer team.
One year removed from a regular season Ohio Valley Conference title, the fall began with unbridled optimism. While the Redhawks' lost some offensive firepower, their experienced defense and returning OVC Freshman of the Year provided plenty of reason to believe another trophy would be added to the storied program. A challenging early schedule showed that there were adjustments to be made, however, as the Redhawks came out of the gates 1-5-1 through their first seven contests. The adversity, as it turned out, was just getting started.
On Sept. 9, tragedy struck the Southeast community as senior defender Meg Herndon
was hospitalized following a serious automobile accident. The Redhawks attempted to carry on while hoping for the best from their fallen teammate, a season-high crowd of 841 fans gathered at Houck Stadium two days later and saw Southeast battle Evansville to a 0-0 tie. The group crowded onto the field for a prayer session with the team after the final whistle.
After nearly two weeks of fighting, Herndon passed away on Sept. 21. The Redhawks, having buried and mourned their captain, were tasked with getting off that emotional roller coaster and attempt to focus on playing winning soccer again.
The early indications were positive as the Redhawks played defending OVC Tournament champion UT Martin to a 1-1 tie in their conference opener. Southeast followed that up with a dominating 6-0 win over Murray State. It would not remain that easy however, as the Redhawks' resolve was tested after three-straight one-goal setbacks dropped the team to 2-9-3 overall and 1-3-1 in OVC play. Southeast was sitting eighth in the standings, two spots below the cutoff for the OVC Tournament with only five contests left.
It would have been understandable if Southeast's story ended there, but quitting was never an option. The Redhawks honored Herndon, whose motto was "impossible is nothing", the best way they could. A 1-0 overtime win over Eastern Kentucky provided life for Southeast, which finished the regular season 4-0-1 to earn the fourth seed in the OVC Tournament.
The Redhawks' momentum didn't stop there as they topped Belmont in the quarterfinals for their first OVC Tournament win since 2007. Southeast's season ended the next day, but not before giving OVC champion UT Martin all it could handle in a 1-0 setback.
Check back with GoSoutheast.com on Monday, July 15, when we continue our countdown with the No. 4 moment on the #SETop10.
No. 10: Football outlasts Tennessee Tech in Double Overtime
No. 9: Softball downs Southern Illinois for Richmond's 600th D1 Win
No. 8: Classroom on the Court Propels Women's Basketball
No. 7: Baseball Keeps Postseason Streak Alive in Bieser's First Season
No. 6: Smith Breaks Three-Point Record Against SIU Edwardsville