The Murray State Racers (5-0) only needed a small portion of overtime to get the job done, as Harriet Withers struck a ball at the 20 yard mark into the top right corner of the net to secure a 4-3 victory over Little Rock (3-3) just 50 seconds into the extra frame at Cutchin Field in Murray, Ky..
“Full credit to Little Rock, like every team in the country, they’re not going to just keel over and let us win. I was happy with our character and toughness to come back and win.” said head coach Jeremy Groves after the victory.
It was the Racers who took an early 1-0 advantage over the Trojans at the 16 minute mark as Aaron Lankster received a pass from Miyah Watford and struck it from the right side of the box, seeing it ping off the left post and trickle in for her first goal of the year. 12 minutes went by before another Racer struck the back of the net. Rebecca Kubin scored her second of the year at the 28 minute mark. Watford got another assist, crossing a ball in to Kubin who put it over the shoulder of the keeper to make it a 2-0 game.
Late into the first half, the Trojans struck back, as Doro Greulich scored her first of three goals against the Racers, taking a shot from a bad angle near the goal line, and seeing it bounce off the gloves of Alex Steigerwald to cut the lead to one with four minutes to go.
Fourteen minutes into the second frame, the Racers added another goal to their tally. An errant goal kick off a Trojan defender was enough for Withers to race towards the keeper and tuck a hard shot to the left post, making it a 3-1 game for Murray State.
It was once again Greulich scoring late for Little Rock, this time getting a corner kick and converting it into a goal to make it a one goal game once again with 13 minutes left in the match. Not wanting to go down without a fight, the Trojans struck again just three minutes later. A free kick at the top of the box taken by Greulich connected off the left post and rolled left to right across the goal line to make it a 3-3 contest.
This was the first time the Racers had to battle in overtime this season, and it was probably the quickest OT period either team has been a part of in a long time. Just 50 seconds in, a beautiful pass from Watford found Withers alone on the left side of the field. Taking the time and space given to her by the Trojans, Withers took a hard shot around 20 yards out, tucking it into the upper part of the net to end the contest and give the Racers their fifth win in a row.
“This team has been built off these hard games, this is how we won the championship last year, we were tough,” commented Groves.
With her two goals scored against Little Rock, Withers stands just one goal away from tying the all-time career goal mark of 34. Theresa Reedy, who graduated in 2004 is the current record holder Along with that, Withers is now tied with Hayley Younginer of Wofford for first in the nation for total goals with eight.
Totaling three assists in the contest, Watford is now tied for the most assists in a single game by a Racer. Rebecca Bjorkvall was the last Racer to reach this mark back in 2013. It has been done now five times in MSU history.
Steigerwald picked up her fifth win of the year, making six saves in the process.
It’s back on the road for the Racers, as they face their first conference opponent of the year with a trip to Morehead State to face the Eagles on Thursday, (Sept. 14) at 5 P.M. Central Time.