The No. 4 seed Eastern Kentucky University soccer team has advanced to the Ohio Valley Conference semifinals after prevailing in penalty kicks, 4-3, over No. 5 SIUE on Sunday afternoon in a quarterfinals match at EKU Soccer Field.
It is EKU’s (8-7-4, 4-3-3 OVC) third consecutive trip to the OVC semifinals.
After both teams battled for 110 minutes to a scoreless, double-overtime draw, the game moved to a penalty-kick shootout.
The first four Colonels to take penalty kicks – seniors Bailly Bounds and Kacy Eckley, junior Taran McMillan and sophomore Kylie Thompson – all connected.
SIUE’s first PK went wide left, but the next three Cougars buried their attempts.
After junior Erin Torrence’s potential game-sealing PK sailed wide right, SIUE had a shot to tie it up; however, freshman goalkeeper Zoe Aguirre made a save on the Cougars’ final attempt to end it, igniting a Colonel celebration near midfield.
“We’re extremely proud of the girls for getting through a tough game today,” head coach Nick Flohre said. “Success during tournament time comes down to defending well and being gritty. Our girls committed to doing what was needed to hold the shutout and showed a lot of composure in PKs. We’re happy to get through the quarterfinals and move on to next weekend.”
The match was balanced, statistically. SIUE (6-9-2, 4-5-1 OVC) narrowly outshot EKU on the day, 13-12. Torrence led all players in the game with four shots, two of which were on frame. Eckley, Bounds and senior Idalys Rea all fired two shots on the day.
Both goalkeepers played well to preserve the shutout. It was Aguirre’s sixth clean sheet of the season, and she made six big saves to earn it.
Eckley, juniors Rachele Manfre and Marian Wolski and sophomores Katie Shaffer and Jess Philpot played all 110 minutes on a rock-solid EKU backline.
The Colonels will now advance to play the No. 1 seed UT Martin on Friday, November 2 at 8 p.m. ET at Skyhawk Field in Martin, Tennessee.
— www.EKUSports.com ––
Associate Director of EKUSports Communications