Sadie Appleton, Sports Correspondent
This past Friday, the Jacksonville State University soccer team closed out their home slate for the year. Coming off a loss against Tennessee Tech in the previous match, the Gamecocks looked to reverse their spiraling nine game losing streak.
Although the team’s roster had been plagued with injuries throughout the entirety of the season, the squad hoped to send off seven seniors – Rachel Blanding, Danelle Lindo, Kalea Romano, Adrianna Karpa, Nadia Plawiuk, Emma Meadows and Cheyenne Carden, with a win for their final home game.
A 7 p.m. kickoff at the JSU Soccer Complex began the matchup against the Murray State Racers who bolstered an 8-6 record against the Gamecocks’ 3-12 record. The Racers were looking to continue their journey towards a conference title as they were second with a 6-1 OVC record, just trailing Southeastern Missouri in the point standings. However, Murray State’s record hit a bump in the road after Jax State knocked off the Racers and handed them their second conference loss of the season.
Jacksonville State trailed early in the match when Murray State put one in the back of the net quickly in the sixth minute. However, the Gamecocks would hastily respond in the 13th minute as sophomore, Reilly Kucko, struck to equalize the score. The goal was her second of the season.
The two teams traded possessions frequently for some time until junior, Auset Gibbs, connected with Cynthia Bagozzi to break the scoring deadlock and give JSU the 2-1 lead in the 29thminute. Not used to being behind, Murray State attacked the JSU defense and put seven shots in the second half. One of these shots would slip past the goalkeeper after the ball knocked off the foot of freshman, Lauren Payne, for an MSU goal in the 67thminute – an error that leveled the score once again.
With only about twenty minutes left in the final half of the match, JSU looked for anything to put themselves on top before the final whistle. Luckily, the thing they were looking for came in the form of Bagozzi as she scored the winning goal of the match in the 73rdminute with assistance from senior Cheyenne Carden, stunning the Racers and knocking them off from the second slot in the conference standings. The two points from Bagozzi brings her scoring tally to seven goals for the season.
Much of the momentous victory could be credited to the Gamecocks’ backline, which was led and maintained by junior, Alicia Pallister, and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, Morgan Lerch. Murray State posted 14 shots on goal (seven in each half) and six shots on goal.
Additionally, the Racers had eight corner kick opportunities. In comparison, Jax State had four shots (all of which were on frame), four saves and only one corner kick. JSU proved to be more disciplined as they only had six penalties as opposed to MSU’s 10.
“The girls’ attitudes and mentalities have been brilliant. Despite all the adversity we have had they have never stopped working hard in practice and competing in games,” said Neil Macdonald, the Gamecocks head soccer coach. “I think we were all delighted with the performance from the team. Our season has been devastated with injuries this year, and I think it shows how close we are to being a top team in the OVC.”
Jacksonville State will look to ride the momentum from their victory when they travel to face conference leader Southeast Missouri on Oct. 25 and then UT Martin on Oct. 27. To stay up to date with the JSU Soccer team, fans can follow them on Twitter at “JSUGamecocksSOC” and on Facebook at Jacksonville State Gamecocks.