The sixth-seeded Morehead State soccer team converted three of its first four shots on goal and never looked back in a 5-1 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament victory over third-seeded Murray State on Thursday afternoon (Nov. 6) at Houck Stadium.
The Eagles advance to the OVC semifinals, where they will square off with second-seeded SIU Edwardsville on Friday (Nov. 7) at 5 p.m. The host and top seed, Southeast Missouri, will face either fourth-seeded UT Martin or fifth-seeded Jacksonville State in the other semifinal.
Morehead State, which posted a 5-3-2 OVC record, improves to 11-5-5 overall. The Racers, who registered a 7-3-0 league mark, close out their season 11-9-0. Thursday's decision flips the script on Murray State's 5-0 win in the only regular-season meeting between the clubs.
"I'm proud of our young ladies," Head Coach Warren Lipka said. "We put together a really good performance today against a quality opponent. Murray State had its way with us in the regular season, so it was great to see us play the way we did with our season on the line."
Senior forward Jade Flory, the 2013 OVC Player of the Year and a 2014 All-OVC selection, began the scoring parade in the 12th minute on her team-best 13th goal of the campaign. MSU's leader in points, goals and assists cleaned up an attempt on net from classmate Macy Cobb.
Senior midfielder Caity Fox and sophomore forward Angela Black pushed the advantage to 3-0 by intermission. Fox tallied an unassisted goal, her second of the year, in the 24th minute. Black added a score, her seventh of the season, off an assist from senior Paige Weber 10 minutes later.
"We started fast, both offensively and defensively," Lipka said. "I spoke to (former Morehead State assistant and current Murray State head coach) Jeremy (Groves) after the match. It was just one of those days. We did a lot of things well, and he would tell you his team didn't play its best."
Morehead State kept the pressure on by netting two goals less than five minutes apart shortly after intermission. Junior defender Kelsey Gomez, who also earned All-OVC accolades this season, scored the fourth and assisted on the fifth. Cobb notched MSU's final goal in the 51st minute.
"Our second-half goals were huge," Lipka added. "It's one thing to be ahead by three. It's a totally different story to be up by five. Those two really put this match out of reach (for Murray State). We talked at halftime about continuing to press -- and we did. That was really terrific to see."
The Eagles recorded a 16-15 edge in total shots and 13-8 advantage in attempts on goal.
Junior goalkeeper Kaitlynn Murphy, who collected seven saves in 90 minutes, earned the win. Freshman netminder Shelby Haworth, who allowed all five MSU goals, was pinned with the loss. Freshman forward Harriet Withers posted Murray State's only goal. It came in the 56th minute.
"We will enjoy this one for a few minutes, but tomorrow is a new day and we need to be ready," Lipka added. "SIU Edwardsville is a good team and will present some challenges. We have a veteran team and everyone wants them to go out on top. We didn't come here just to win one match."