Eagles’ historic season ends against Lions

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Soccer had their historic first season as an NCAA Division I program and first in the Ohio Valley Conference come to a close Friday evening, as Lindenwood University took a 2-1 win against the Screaming Eagles in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Soccer Championship Tournament.
 
USI finished its first season in Division I with a 5-8-4 overall record and 1-5-2 in the OVC regular season.
 
The match started at a high tempo, as both teams were hitting the accelerator to start the OVC Championship Tournament. The match’s aggressive nature led to early physicality and fouls.
 
Lindenwood (6-7-5, 2-2-4 OVC) scored the match’s first goal in the 11th minute, as a loose ball in the six-yard box amidst a defensive scrum ended up at the feet of the Lions’ freshman forward Lily Sutter. Sutter poked the ball into the low corner of the goal.
 
After the goal, it seemed the momentum stuck with the Lions for the next 10 minutes, but the Screaming Eagles began to find their rhythm in the attacking half midway through the first half. USI’s only shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes came from junior forward Morgan Beyer (Rossford, Ohio), but the shot was saved by Lindenwood’s senior goalkeeper Sam Blazek.
 
Late first-half substitutions also provided a boost for the Screaming Eagles, getting shot attempts from junior midfielder Paige Vanek (St. Charles, Missouri) and junior defender Alexis Schone (Galena, Ohio). Southern Indiana also placed a couple of good crosses into the box but could not find the finishing chances in the first half.
 
Lindenwood took their 1-0 lead into the break, tallying two shots on goals on five attempts and five corner kicks. USI had one shot on goal on three shots.
 
Coming out of halftime, Lindenwood struck early in the second half just as they did in the first. In the 56th minute, junior forward Maggie Weller pushed Lindenwood up 2-0 on a shot from the top of the box that found the low corner of the corner. The Screaming Eagles were quick to respond.
 
A handful of minutes later, a ball trickled back to USI’s graduate defender Mia Rose Daly (Haiku, Hawaii) who let it fly from distance and placed it perfectly into the top corner of the goal and into the far-side netting. The goal was Daly’s first in a Southern Indiana uniform and brought USI back within one.
 
From there, the Screaming Eagles were the aggressors in the second half, getting several passes into the box, sprinting toward the goal, and taking chances from outside the box. Beyer took one of her three shots shortly after the goal by Daly but was off the mark.
 
Southern Indiana received a solid effort from their subs in the second half just like the first, as freshman forward Shy Iles (Demossville, Kentucky) took a chance in search of the potential tying goal in the 79th minute, but the shot was saved by Blazek.
 
The Screaming Eagles had two good looks in the last ten minutes by senior defender Madison Crawford (O’Fallon, Missouri), one on a set piece and another in the last push forward for USI. Both attempts were kept out of the goal, and Lindenwood held on for a 2-1 win and advanced to Sunday’s quarterfinals against No. 4 Southeast Missouri State University of the OVC Tournament.
 
Southern Indiana finished their historic first season as an NCAA Division I program and first in the Ohio Valley Conference with a hard-fought, valiant effort Friday evening.
 
After ten shots in the second half, the Screaming Eagles outshot Lindenwood 13-8. The Lions placed five on goal and USI had four shots on goal. Lindenwood took eight corners and USI had two.
 
Individually, Beyer led the Screaming Eagles with three shots and one on goal. Crawford had two with one on target. Overall, ten USI players took a shot in the match. In goal, senior goalkeeper Maya Etienne (Midland, Michigan) made three saves in a full 90 minutes played.
 
Southern Indiana will now look ahead to the next chapter of its Division I era in 2023.