Freshman Alexandra Johnson’s first career goal proved to be the game-winner as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville women’s soccer downed Eastern Kentucky 2-1 for its first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season Friday at Korte Stadium.
The win snapped a three-game winless (0-1-2) streak for SIUE. The Cougars improved to 7-2-3 overall and 1-1-1 in OVC play. Eastern Kentucky had a two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-8-1 and 1-1-0.
“One of the things we talked about before the game was getting our weekend off to a good start, trying to dictate the pace of the game, and trying to play the way that we wanted to, which I think that we did a fairly good job of,” SIUE Head Coach Derek Burton said.
Johnson’s goal came in the 79th minute and was setup thanks to an SIUE corner kick. When Eastern Kentucky failed to clear the ball it came across the penalty area. Christine Martinez hit a low, line-drive shot with her right foot, forcing EKU goalkeeper Erika Wolfer to her left to make the save. The rebound came out in front and Johnson was there to cash in from two yards away.
“Alex did a great job staying with the play, following it up, and using her speed,” Burton said. “She just explodes. She was first to it and put the ball away.”
The goal from Johnson made it 2-0 Cougars at the time. Fellow freshman Kayla Delgado netted her team-leading seventh goal of the year in the 55th minute to break a scoreless tie. Hope Jones led Delgado with a pass down the sideline. Delgado then raced to the end line, before cutting the ball back to her left foot. She turned past her defender and scored with a near post finish from six yards away to make it 1-0 SIUE.
“Kayla did a great job,” Burton said. “She turned the corner on her defender and then buried a shot, which she can do.”
Cassie Smith scored the lone tally for EKU with just more than a minute remaining. Smith hit a shot from 30 yards out to the far post. The ball glanced off the goal post and in to cut the SIUE lead to 2-1.
For the game, SIUE outshot EKU 12-4. The Cougars managed six shots in each half. Wolfer made five saves for Eastern Kentucky. SIUE goalkeeper Jennifer Pelley made just a single save.
“Overall I felt it was a pretty good job by us in play
ing the way we wanted to play. Hopefully we can build on that,” Burton added.
SIUE remains at home to take on Morehead State Sunday at Korte Stadium. First kick is slated for 1 p.m.
“All that mattered at the end of the day was getting the win, our first OVC win of the year,” Burton said. “So now we look to see what we can do to get our second on Sunday.”