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Soccer Begins OVC Play With a Hard Fought Draw at EIU

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MSU Athletics
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For the second straight game, 110 minutes could not separate the Eagles from their opponents, as Morehead State and Eastern Illinois opened the OVC season with a 1-1 draw.

The draw moves the Eagles to 2-5-3 on the season and 0-0-1 in league play, but does give Morehead State their best start in OVC play since 2014.

In what was expected to be a defensive battle between two struggling offenses, both teams put up a season high number of shot attempts, with the Eagles outshooting the Panthers 23-20. The 23 shots was the most from Morehead State since a 40 shot performance against Francis Marion (S.C.) in September of 2015.

Both goaltenders however, who are first and second respectively in the OVC in shutouts, turned in strong performances to keep the game even, with junior Michelle Jerantowski notching another eight saves to continue her impressive season in net.

Head coach Warren Lipka was pleased with his team's effort and the result in a hard fought match. "It was a great game. The goalkeepers on both sides kept their team in it, and it's always good to get points on the road."

The Eagles opened the game with an offensive flurry primarily from Nicole Fiantaco, as the sophomore had a chance off a corner kick in the ninth minute and back-to-back shots in the 16th and 17th minutes. Nevertheless, it would be the Panthers who struck first, scoring in the 38th minute and snapping what was a 214-minute scoreless streak from Morehead State.

After dueling offensive chances were stopped by each team's goaltenders, the Eagles finally broke through with the equalizer in the 62nd minute on Katie Kiolbassa's third goal of the season, which was assisted by Jenna Setters in what was her first career point.

Morehead State kept the pressure on in the 79th minute when a throw in set piece resulted in two shots from Kiolbassa and one from Libby Van Wagen, but all of the close range opportunities were blocked or saved.

However, the best opportunity for the Eagles to end the game in regulation came from a barrage in the 85th minute that saw four shots, including both Avery Redmon and Abby Vanhoeve clanging shots off the crossbar. The Panthers had their own dangerous chance in the 90th minute, when a corner kick resulted in their own shot off the crossbar, sending the match to overtime.

The strong defenses from both teams were on display in the overtime periods, limiting opportunities on both sides, but even then it took a Jerantowski save in the 109th minute and a Colleen Swift shot being stopped as time expired to bring the match to a draw.

Next up for Morehead State, they return home as they continue OVC play against Tennessee Tech on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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