The No. 2 Eastern Kentucky University soccer team has advanced to the Ohio Valley Conference title game after prevailing in penalty kicks, 4-2, over No. 3 Tennessee Tech on Friday afternoon in a semifinal matchup at Cutchin Field.
It is EKU’s first-ever postseason win, and it puts the Colonels one victory away from a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
After both teams battled for 110 minutes to a scoreless, double-overtime draw, the game moved to penalty kicks.
Four Colonels – juniors Emmi Carroll and Allison Werner, sophomore Kacy Eckley and freshman Larissa Heslop – took penalty kicks, and all four connected against TTU goalkeeper Kari Naerdenann, the OVC Defensive Player of the Year. Heslop’s goal proved to be the game-winner.
Junior goalkeeper Anna Hall – a second team All-OVC honoree – made two crucial saves in the shootout.
“We’re really proud of the fight our players showed today,” OVC Coach of the Year Nick Flohre said. “Tournament games are intense and we got caught up with nerves early on. We were able to defend well enough to extend the game. Anna Hall was incredible in the PK shootout and our kick takers showed a lot of composure in a high-pressure situation. All our focus now goes to goes to getting recovered to compete Sunday.”
The game was balanced, statistically. TTU barely outshot EKU, 14-13, and both teams put seven shots on frame.
Junior Jordan Foster led the Colonels with three shots, two of which were on goal. Carroll and senior Mikayla Brillon recorded two shots each.
Hall made seven saves during the match, two of which came during the second overtime period and forced penalty kicks. Hall was assisted by her central defenders, Eckley and Haley Kemper. The sophomore duo played all 110 minutes for Eastern and helped secure a school-record 11th shutout of the season.
The Colonels will play the winner of Sunday’s second semifinal between No. 1 Murray State / No. 4 SIUE in the OVC title game on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Associate Director of EKUSports Communications
Eastern Kentucky University