MURRAY — Murray State women’s soccer began postseason play with a neutral-site competition against Belmont in the OVC Tournament semifinal on Friday afternoon. Despite outshooting the Bruins 24-5 in the competition, the Racers came up short – falling to Belmont by a score of 2-1 at Houck Field in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The Racers would open the scoring in the early stages of the match, netting the game’s first goal in the seventh minute when Miyah Watford tallied her OVC-leading 15th goal of the season off a corner kick from Abby Jones.
The Bruins would quickly answer, however, when Rachel Vernon scored the equalizer in the 13th minute to knot the game at 1-1.
The Racers were awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute, after Watford split a pair of Bruin defenders before she was fouled inside the Belmont penalty area, but Murray State was unable to capitalize on the opportunity as the score remained tied at one goal apiece.
Belmont would then tack on one more in the 29th minute, when Nikki Clements finished a ball played behind the Racer back line by Julie Garst to make it 2-1 in favor of the Bruins with just over 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
While the Racers created several opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the first half, Murray State entered the halftime break facing a 2-1 deficit, despite outshooting the Bruins 10-4 through the first 45 minutes of action.
Murray State continued to produce threatening situations in the attack straight out of halftime, as Izzy Heckman fired a shot off the post in the 51st minute of the match.
Rebecca Kubin would also send a brilliant back-post service to Abby Jones in the 82nd minute, but the ensuing shot would be just off the mark as the Racers pushed to draw the game level in the final moments.
In the end, the equalizer would not be in the cards for the Racers in a game that saw them outshoot their opponent 24-5 overall, Murray State fell to Belmont by a score of 2-1 in the OVC Tournament semifinal.
Watford, who already owns the Murray State single-season records in both goals and points, brought her goal total to an OVC-leading 15 on the year with her seventh-minute score, while her season point total climbed to 35.
The assist from Jones brings her season total to 11 on the year, which sets a new program record for single-season assists. Jones also held the previous record of 10, which she set in her freshman campaign just last season. Now with 21 assists in her first two seasons at Murray State, the sophomore from Powell, Ohio has also tied Rebekah Clay (2005-2008) for the program’s all-time career assist record.
“I’m incredibly proud of the performance. Soccer is a cruel sport. You can dominate the game all you want, but the only stats that matter are goals. I said at halftime - be very happy with the performance, but disappointed with the result. I thought we gave everything. I told our seniors to go out with their heads high…what they’ve done for this program has been magnificent. They’ve set the bar high and I’m super excited to get back to work next season,” said MSU head coach Matt Lodge.
The Racers finish the year at 11-8 overall, with an 8-2 OVC record in 2019.