By ROBERT RISTANEO
The Colonels continued to struggle as Eastern dropped a match at home last Thursday night to the Murray State Golden Eagles (5-3, 1-0 OVC) 2-1.
The Colonels (0-9, 0-1 OVC) struck early, scoring in the third minute on a goal from senior mid-fielder Amani Thomas. The Colonels held the lead the rest of the first half, keeping the ball on Murray State’s side of the field for a majority of the half.
Ten minutes out of the half, sophomore forward Harriet Withers scored for the Eagles on a rebound from her own goal to tie the game. The teams battled through most of the second half, maintaining the tie, until freshman forward Caroline Ashton took the ball down the field and scored for Murray to put the Eagles up with 2-1 with just nine minutes to go. Murray held that lead for the rest of the game.
Thomas was asked after the game what happened in the second half.
“They changed their formation, but we held our own,” Thomas said. “It could have gone either way, but nothing changed with our team other than their formation. We stayed aggressive the whole game.”
Eastern Head coach Andrew Fleming was asked the same question.
“They went to three forwards, which we talked about at half and we were not surprised about it,” Fleming said. “The biggest thing was we saw a couple match-ups that we liked and we did not exploit them as well or as often as we could have. Part of it was a couple mistakes from an execution standpoint and part of it was through them [Murray State] doing a decent job, but we just did not exploit our match-ups well enough.”
However, the Colonels faced Austin Peay (4-5, 0-1 OVC) Sunday and rebounded with a 1-0 victory, its first of the season.
The game was tight throughout and Austin Peay put pressure on the Colonels the whole first half. The Colonels’ (1-9, 1-1 OVC) stout defense had to defend against eight shots during the first half. Eastern only had three shots during the half.
The second half was a different story, as the Colonels put seven shots on the Governors’ defense. At the 57 minute mark, Colonel red-shirt freshman mid-fielder Haley Kemper put in a goal from 20 yards out to take a 1-0 lead.
The defense continued to play well with some big saves from Colonel sophomore goalie Anna Hall and Eastern was able to hold the lead the rest of the game.
Fleming was asked about his team’s first win and gave credit to the players.
“The biggest thing I’ll look at from this game is things don’t always go our way,” Fleming said. “We defended a whole lot in this game, but we have talked a lot this year about solving problems and taking what the game gives you and the girls have done a great job with that.”
Fleming was also asked about the play in the first half compared to the second, and if he made any adjustments during the half.
“We certainly made an adjustment,” Fleming said. “Their outside backs got really high so we kinda changed our personnel and talked about how to switch and they did a great job of handling it. You always have to have a big save in there like we had at the end to beat a team like this.”
The Colonels return to action at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2 as Eastern travels to Cookeville, Tennessee to take on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (4-4-3, 2-0 OVC).