Sadie Appleton, Sports Correspondent
Coming off a huge win at home in the previous weekend against Murray State, the Jacksonville State University soccer team traveled to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to face off against UT Martin and conference-leading Southeast Missouri. After experiencing several setbacks throughout the season, the Gamecocks looked to close out the regular season on a high note.
The Gamecocks opened their final weekend on Friday against the first place Redhawks at Houck field on Southeast Missouri’s campus. A win for JSU would keep their postseason hopes alive but unfortunately, SEMO dashed these dreams and knocked JSU out from the OVC postseason after posting two goals against the Gamecocks.
Each goal scored by SEMO came within two minutes of each other and in the first sixteen minutes of the match. SEMO’s initial score came from a shot from Hailey Block in the box following an assist from the left side of the pitch. Block would then assist in the Redhawk’s following goal from Jennifer Brien shortly after.
While the Redhawks stuck quickly to take the lead, the Jax State defense held off the Southeast Missouri attack for the remaining 74 minutes of the match. Already plagued with injuries throughout the season, the JSU roster experienced more losses due to several illnesses leading up to the closing weekend. The team trained with only nine players due to the limited numbers.
Statistically, Southeast Missouri controlled all 90 minutes. The Redhawks posted 23 shots (13 of which were on goal), 10 corner kicks, and 13 penalties. JSU would only have one shot on goal, nine fouls, and zero corner kicks. Despite the loss, redshirt sophomore Morgan Lerch proved to be a valuable asset to the team as she held off 11 possible goals from the Redhawk offense and kept the scoring tally at bay.
Heading into the second game of the weekend, the Gamecocks hoped to cap off the season with a win against UT Martin to turn their luck around. However, Jax State would come home empty handed as UTM took the match with a score of 4-0. The lead was taken late in the first half in the 44thminute with credit to Jill Hildreath. UTM increased the score with a shot to the back of the net from Alice Adams to make it 2-0 in the 51stminute. UT Martin was then awarded a penalty in the box which resulted in a penalty kick scored by Bella Roberts. UTM finished off the game by driving home a fourth and final goal in the 78thminute from Sophia Mankowski.
As illness and injuries already took its toll on JSU’s roster, fatigue set in as the team was down to twelve players against the Skyhawks. UTM led against JSU offensively as they put up 25 shots against the Gamecocks’ seven. Twenty-five of the Skyhawks’ shots had scoring opportunities while JSU only had four on frame. UT Martin was also awarded more corner kicks with seven against JSU’s sole set piece. The loss against the Skyhawks brings Jax State’s final season record to 4-14.