Murray State leads OVC women’s soccer after first weekend

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

After the first week of conference play, Murray State is 2-0 and at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference women’s soccer standings, while Eastern got off to a 0-2 start.

The Racers picked up two wins during the weekend, beating Tennessee Tech and Jacksonville State by scores of 3-0 in Murray, Ky., on Friday and Sunday.

The Racers take on Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday and Southeast Missouri on Sunday.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri are both 1-0 after both beating Eastern during the weekend.

The OVC’s top goal scorer, senior forward Julie Mooney, leads Murray State with eight goals so far this season. Mooney is a graduate of Francis Howell High School in St. Charles, Mo., the same high school as Eastern’s Lindsey Marino and Cassie Willhite.

The Racers only won three conference matches all of last season, finishing 6-10-1 and 3-7 in the OVC, missing the tournament. So far this year, the Racers have already matched their win total from last season, starting 2014 with a record of 6-5.

The Racers picked up non-conference wins over Georgia State, Saint Louis, IUPUI and Northern Kentucky. Eastern took on both IUPUI and Northern Kentucky in its non-conference schedule, losing to both. Murray State was picked to finish ninth in the OVC preseason poll.

Eastern does not meet Murray State until Oct. 17 at Lakeside Field. The Panthers beat Murray State 2-1 last season.

The Panthers’ two opponents this weekend, Belmont and Austin Peay, started out the OVC schedule 0-0-2 and 1-1, respectively.

Belmont was the only OVC team to tie both of its matches, playing to a 2-2 draw with Morehead State on Friday and then tying 0-0 with Eastern Kentucky on Sunday.

Austin Peay got off to a 1-0 start with a 3-1 win over Eastern Kentucky on Friday, but fell 2-1 to Morehead State on Sunday.

The Governors played with a player advantage for nearly 50 minutes in the match, but were still unable to hold off Morehead State, the preseason favorites to win the conference championship.

Austin Peay quickly tied the match after trailing 1-0 in the second half, but Morehead State scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute. Morehead State’s draw with Belmont on Friday puts the Eagles at 1-0-1 and in second place in the OVC.

Tennessee Tech is the only other 0-2 team along with Eastern. The Panthers take on Belmont at 3 p.m. Friday and Austin Peay at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both matches are at Lakeside Field.

Players of the Week

Southeast Missouri’s Natasha Minor scored two goals in 25 minutes against Eastern on Friday, making her the first OVC Offensive Player of the Week of the 2014 season. Minor, a sophomore from DePere, Wis., also had an assist in the match.

Senior defender Rebecca Bjorkvall of Murray State was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week. Bjorkvall, from Aland, Finland, had two assists in the Racers’ win over Tennessee Tech and played 90 minutes in each of Murray State’s two matches this weekend.

Murray State also took home OVC Goalkeeper of the Week honors with freshman Shelby Haworth recording two shutouts and combining for nine saves in her first two career OVC matches.

Dominic Renzetti can  be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].