By ROBERT RISTANEO
The Colonels won its second game in a row, beating Eastern Illinois Panthers (3-11-2, 1-5-1 OVC) 3-0 in convincing fashion.
The Eastern (3-13, 3-5 OVC) defense has been stout as of late, surrendering just one goal in the last 272 minutes of play. Such play has helped the team control its own destiny to make post-season play.
Senior mid-fielder Katie Bright got the Colonels going with a penalty kick in the 40th minute to take a 1-0 lead.
The Colonels did not let up, scoring in the 54th minute thanks to junior forward Cassie Smith, and again in the 78th minute from freshman mid-fielder Bailey Bounds to seal the game.
The Colonels dominated in every aspect, out-shooting the Panthers 16-5 and taking nine corner kicks to the Panthers one. Twenty-three Colonels saw action Friday during the win.
With the victory, the Colonels have placed itself sixth in the conference, with just three games left. The top-6 teams make the OVC Tournament.
Head Coach Andrew Fleming touted the teams surge as of late.
“We were fortunate today and caught a break or two,” Fleming said. “At the same time, these girls all worked very hard and were focused in both the attacking third and defensive third of the field. That type of effort will be absolutely essential 48 hours from now.”
Eastern could not continue the momentum however, losing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (5-8-3, 2-4-1 OVC) Sunday 1-0 on SIUE’s senior night.
The game was close throughout till SIUE sophomore forward Caroline Hoefert broke away for a score in the 77th minute to stun Eastern. The defense had been stellar up until that point, with sophomore goalkeeper Anna Hall making six saves.
The Cougars outshot the Colonels 13-10. Both teams attempted three corner kicks.
“We certainly played hard enough to win and created enough chances to win, but they were just better today,” Fleming said after the game.
SIUE is the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions, but had only won just one conference game until its victory on Senior Night.
The loss was a tough one for the Colonels, dropping Eastern to seventh in the conference. The Colonels are now on the outside looking in for the conference tournament with only two games remaining.
At 3-5 in the conference, Eastern will need Southeast Missouri or UT Martin to lose a game before playing one another during the last game of the season. The Colonels will have to win its last two games, unless one of those two teams lose all three of its final games.
The Colonels will do what it can at 4 p.m. on Friday when Eastern hosts Belmont.