Just 58 seconds into the overtime period, Southern Illinois Edwardsville (5-5-4, 3-2-3 OVC) freshman Emma Dutko netted a goal in-close to senior Sara Teteak on a header to beat Eastern 3-2 on senior day.
The Panthers (3-8-2, 2-4-1 OVC) got the ball to start the overtime period, but after turning it over, the Cougars pounced on the opportunity with a cross that resulted in the goal.
Head coach Jake Plant said after the game, he told the team to stay focused.
“We’re at that point in the season where a loss can’t break the back of the team,” Plant said, “and it won’t with this team. They’re strong, they have a good culture, good identity.”
The Panthers played catch-up for a portion of the game after allowing a goal in the 14th minute, but junior Haylee Renick knotted it back up in the 56th minute on a breakaway for her second goal in the last four matches.
The Cougars responded with another score before senior Sarah DeWolf hit the top crossbar with a shot in the 70th minute before senior Lexi Ketterhagen cleaned it up with a goal after settling the rebound.
The two-goal performance gives Eastern eight goals scored in its last three OVC matches, and Plant was pleased with the offensive performance.
“That’s probably the biggest positive of the day that we went 1-0 down and came back and then 2-1 down and came back,” Plant said. “The fact that we looked potent in the attack, and the fact that, honestly, we probably should’ve got one more and then at least one in the first half too, so really that’s a game.”
Teteak, who leads the OVC in saves during conference games, recorded seven saves while allowing three goals.
Prior to the match, Eastern had allowed one or fewer goals in each of the team’s last nine matches, and although the Panthers gave up more scores than usual, Plant said there were some teachable mistakes against a good team.
“A good aggressive SIUE team, that’s for sure, they got to get their credit,” Plant said. “At the same time, if you dissect all the goals, we could probably pick apart like, ‘Yeah, that should happen. This shouldn’t happen,’ so I think that we just have to do that on video and just teach along the way.”
Teteak and the six other seniors on the team were honored before the game with a jersey ceremony and picture.
All seven besides Hannah Heinz, who missed last season due to her fight with cancer, started the contest for Eastern.
The Panthers are now tied for seventh place in the conference with three OVC matches left to play.
The first of the final three regular season games comes against Tennessee Tech at Lakeside Field Friday at 3 p.m.
Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]