USI battles rival SIUE to scoreless tie


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Soccer went toe-to-toe against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Thursday night, battling to a 0-0 tie at Strassweg Field. The Screaming Eagles matched a season-best unbeaten streak of four matches with Thursday’s scoreless draw.

With USI coming into Thursday’s match against its longtime rival on a three-match winning streak, the contest quickly escalated to a high-intensity battle. SIUE is also the three-time reigning Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions going back to the Spring 2020-21 season. The match’s quick pace and physical nature became evident as both sides fought for possession.
Midway into the first half, Southern Indiana had solid chances at goal. In the 21st minute, sophomore defender Charli Grafton (Sunriver, Oregon) stepped into the box on a USI corner kick. On a good service inside the six-yard box by sophomore midfielder Emma Thurston (Leawood, Kansas), Grafton headed the ball inches above the crossbar. Just a few minutes later, sophomore midfielder Peyton Murphy (Bargersville, Indiana) took a right-footed shot that was blocked away by the Cougars’ redshirt junior goalkeeper Taylor Spiller.
With the match still scoreless in the 59th minute, the Eagles nearly found a breakthrough. Off a throw-in, freshman midfielder Pilar Torres (Chula Vista, California) booted a ball up into the air inside the box. With Spiller coming off the goal line, freshman midfielder Lydia Bordfeld (Evansville, Indiana) headed the ball down toward the corner of the goal, but the ball nicked off the post and stayed out. Southern Indiana had another quality chance nearly six minutes later off a free kick. With a look just outside the top of the box, Murphy snuck the free kick past SIUE’s defensive wall but went just past the right post. Then as both teams sought a go-ahead goal coming down the stretch, USI redshirt freshman goalkeeper Anna Markland (Hoover, Alabama) made four big saves within a minute after quick shots by the Cougars.

Markland finished the match with five saves, recording the fifth shutout of the season for USI. Offensively, the Screaming Eagles spread out six shots with one on goal late by senior midfielder Avery Schone (Galena, Ohio). The Cougars placed five of eight shot attempts on target.
With Thursday’s tie, Southern Indiana moved to 4-6-5 overall and 3-1-2 in OVC play. The Eagles have now earned a result in eight of the last nine matches, going 4-1-4 during that stretch. Plus, USI has now gone 3-0-2 in the last five home matches. SIUE moved to a 4-5-3 mark this season with a 2-1-3 conference record. In the conference standings, Southern Indiana moved into a tie for second with Morehead State University at 11 points. The Cougars are now fourth entering the weekend with nine points.
Up next, the Screaming Eagles head back on the road Sunday at 1 p.m., taking on the University of Tennessee at Martin. Sunday’s match can be seen with a subscription to ESPN+.