The No. 2 Eastern Kentucky University soccer team’s historic season came to an end on Sunday afternoon as the Colonels fell to No. 4 SIUE, 1-0, in the Ohio Valley Conference championship game at Cutchin Field.
Picked in the preseason to finish 10th out of 11 OVC teams, Eastern was not expected to be in this position. After posting a program-best 13 wins and setting records for goals (30), points (77), and shutouts (11), the Colonels won a share of the OVC regular season title and then advanced to the OVC Tournament championship game through a penalty-kick shootout with No. 3 Tennessee Tech in Friday’s semifinal.
“Today wasn’t the way we wanted our season to end, but we want to congratulate SIUE and wish them the best in the NCAA Tournament,” OVC Coach of the Year Nick Flohre said.
The lone goal in the match came just two minutes after the opening whistle, as SIUE’s Lindsey Fencil scored off a corner kick from Emily Grahl.
EKU had a chance at an equalizer late in the first half when junior Jordan Foster was fouled in the box. Freshman Kayla Childs buried the ensuing penalty kick, but a re-kick was called when it was decided SIUE goalkeeper Juli Rossi was not set at the time of the kick.
Rossi blocked the Colonels’ second penalty-kick attempt.
Eastern had opportunities in the second half, including a free kick from junior Logan Harvey that hit the crossbar, but the Colonels could not convert.
Eastern attempted 12 shots on the day, five of which were on frame. Junior Emmi Carroll and sophomore Tara Claus put two shots on goal each, while senior Mikayla Brillon notched the other one.
Junior goalkeeper Anna Hall made nine saves in the game, while Harvey and sophomore Kacy Eckley played all 90 minutes on the EKU backline.
Hall, Eckley, and sophomore defender Haley Kemper were named to the OVC All-Tournament Team following the game. They are the first Colonels to make the All-Tournament team since Stephanie Murray and Maddy Shumaker in 2008.
“Our season has been something we’ll never forget,” Flohre added. “We couldn’t be prouder of this team and how far they’ve come in such a short time. It’s said that success takes time, but these players showed it can happen within a season. We also want to thank everyone – support staff, athletics administration, family and friends – who helped make this season so memorable. This year wouldn’t be the same without your support.”
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Associate Director of EKUSports Communications