Soccer Seizes First-Ever OVC Tournament Championship
Nov. 5, 2006
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - After two previous appearances in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament finals, Southeast Missouri State soccer proved the third time is indeed the charm as it defeated Morehead State by a score of 2-0 to win the tournament for the first time in school history in addition to the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The fourth-seeded Redhawks improved their season record to 10-7-2, while the Eagles finished the year with a record of 8-8-3.
"I'm just so proud of the team for making history today and it's been a total team effort," said Southeast head coach Heather Nelson.
Both teams battled through a 0-0 tie in the first half, similar to the Oct. 13 scoreless tie at Houck Stadium, but the Eagles held a slim 7-6 shooting advantage.
The score stayed the same early in the second half until Southeast capitalized on a deflected corner kick in the 66th minute on a header from junior midfielder Margie Schaeffler (St. Louis, MO/Incarnate Word) as it claimed a 1-0 lead. The Redhawks closed the scoring at the 80:13 mark when sophomore defender Casey Kraft (St. Louis, MO/Nerinx Hall) scored her third goal of the tournament with a shot off a deflected cross pass.
"Our team played with so much heart during this tournament and we managed to produce an all-around effort today in the second half," said Kraft, who was named tournament MVP.
The Redhawks held advantages over Morehead State in shots (17-14) and corner kicks (4-2). Senior goalkeeper Lindsay Pickering (St. Charles, MO/St. Charles West) tallied her ninth shutout victory of the season, while freshman forward Courtney Alexander (Liberty, MO/Liberty) led all players with six shot attempts. Kraft, Schaeffler, Pickering and senior midfielder Jessi Wuellner (Roselle, IL/Lake Park) were named to the all-tournament team.
"I'm just really excited [about winning the OVC title] and it's a good way to finish my soccer career," said Wuellner, who is one of two senior players on this year's team. "Everyone worked really hard this weekend and we put it together this afternoon."
A reception open to the public will be held for the Redhawks at Buffalo Wild Wings tomorrow afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. The team will be in attendance to watch the NCAA Selection Show, which will be broadcast on ESPNews from 2-3 p.m.