An own goal in the 26th minute of the OVC tournament quarterfinals lifted Southern Illinois Edwardsville past Eastern women’s soccer, ending the Panthers’ year after entering the tournament as an eight seed.
The lone goal came after Southern Illinois Edwardsville senior Becca Jostes placed a corner kick right in front of the goal into a crowd of players, before the ball ricocheted off senior Rachel Pappas and behind senior goalkeeper Sara Teteak.
The strong offensive pressure from the Cougars kept the Eastern offense quiet in the first half as much of the game time was spent in Panther territory early, though Eastern was only outshot 7-4 through 45 minutes.
“I think we played a little more reserved in the first half than I would’ve liked,” Eastern head coach Jake Plant said.
Some of the best chances for Eastern in the first half came at the very beginning and end of the first period, as Itxaso Aguero took a corner kick just 40 seconds into the game that was played out by the Cougar defense.
Then, with under 30 seconds to go before the stoppage, freshman Nicoletta Anuci teed up a cross to sophomore Niondina Nystrom that was headed out of the box without any damage.
The low-scoring affair is not uncommon for the Panthers, considering Eastern allowed one or fewer goals in 10 of its 11 previous OVC matchups this season, but the exception came against the Cougars on Oct. 13 in a 3-2 overtime loss.
Plant said it is tough to pinpoint an exact reason for the difference in the two matches, but Southern Illinois Edwardsville prepared well for the rematch.
“Obviously, they scouted pretty well after seeing us play Friday,” Plant said, “So I don’t think there was one thing that was different, but when we played them in Charleston it was a really close game, and we made it really close in this one as well.”
Eastern found a few more scoring chances in the second half, especially down the stretch, as a pair of fouls under a minute apart in the waning minutes set up two free kicks for the Panthers, but neither resulted in a score.
The Panthers finish the year with a 4-10-4 record overall and a 2-5-3 clip in OVC play.
Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]