It took double overtime, but defending regular-season champion Drake pulled off a 2-1 victory of Missouri State to open Missouri Valley Conference league action this past weekend in women's soccer. Evansville and Indiana State also posted wins on the weekend while the Bears clawed back from the opening loss to down UNI 7-1. Melissa Nelson of Drake and Sarah Groves of Evansville are this week's MVC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.
Players of the Week
Melissa Nelson scored a goal and also recorded the assist on the Bulldogs’ game-winning goal in DU’s conference-opening win over Missouri State last week. DU won 2-1 in double overtime.
In three total contests last week, Nelson recorded three shots, all on goal, while helping Drake to their first Missouri Valley Conference win of the season over the Bears.
Nelson has three goals on the season and leads the Bulldogs in assists with seven, ranking second all time in assists at Drake.
Port Orchard, Wash.
Sarah Groves of Evansville is this week’s MVC Defensive Player of the Week. The senior leader from Washington, cited by her coaching staff as an exceptional leader after UE’s conference win over Illinois State Saturday, helpd hold the Redbirds to just three shots on goal in the Aces’ 2-0 win.
UE posted its third shutout in the last six matches in the opening match of the MVC season. With lightening and rain wreaking havoc on the contest in Evansville, Groves and her group held on for the shutout and league win.
The Bluejays have not started off on the right foot in conference openers in the past. CU is 5-4-1 in conference openers. The Jays have not won a conference opener since the 2-1 victory over Evansville in 2002, but the friendly confines of home changes things for the Jays. In home conference openers, the Jays are 8-1-1 all-time. CU has not lost a home conference opener since the 3-0 loss to Evansville in 1997.
Lucky Number Seven
It has been seven straight matches that the Jays have not allowed a goal in the second half. The last time an opponent scored in the second half was a month ago versus Northern Illinois. The Huskies scored in the 83rd minute to tie the match and send it to overtime.
In the 1-0 victory over one time ranked Kansas, a home attendance record was broken. 1,252 fans walked through the gates of Morrison Stadium to cheer on their Bluejays. The old attendance record of 1,206 was set last year in an exhibition match versus Minnesota on Aug. 25.
Undefeated In OT
The Bulldogs have gone 2-0-1 in overtime matches this season, including a 0-0 tie with, then ranked, #14 Marquette. All three matches have been in Des Moines and the Bulldogs have held strong through the extra minutes.
Foote Ranked Nationally
Bulldogs junior Sarah Foote is ranked 24th in the nation in Division 1 in points per game average, with 1.78, the highest of any Missouri Valley Conference player. In 12 matches this year, Foote leads the Bulldogs with 19 points.
They Call It a Streak
With Friday’s win over conference foe Missouri State, 2-1 (OT), Drake continued it’s 15-game regular-season undefeated streak (14-0-1) in the MVC. Drake’s last regular season loss to an MVC opponent came on Oct. 24, 2003 against Northern Illinois, 2-1. Drake’s only tie during that time came against Missouri State, 0-0 (2OT), last season.
Evansville played 14 consecutive matches without shutting out an opponent from mid-way through the 2005 season through the first three of 2006. Since then, however, the Aces have blanked three of their six opponents. UE’s defense held Illinois State to only three shots on goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win, and senior goalkeeper Whitney Raeon made three saves.
Evansville forwards Kayla Lambert and Mia Tofano continue to vie for the MVC goal-scoring lead. Tofano tied her teammate on Saturday when she scored her sixth goal of the season in the ninth minute against Illinois State, but that lasted only 14 minutes. Lambert scored her seventh of the year at 22:18. The two have combined for 13 of the team’s 21 goals, and as a result, Evansville is ranked among the nation’s top 30 in scoring.
Return of the Mick
Evansville hosts Indiana University on Wednesday. It will be the first time that former UE coach Mick Lyon has coached against his former school. Lyon was an All-American at UE in the 80s and then coached the Purple Aces’ women’s team from the inception of the program in 1993 through 2001. He led UE to four MVC regular-season titles, five MVC Tournament championships, and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Rain, Rain Go Away
But the Birds are hoping it doesn’t come back another day. For the second consecutive week, Illinois State had a game affected by the weather. After their Sept. 22 game was cancelled due to rain and lightning, the Redbirds traveled to Evansvillle and played a marathon match that spanned four hours against the Aces, again because of lighting delays.
Turning the Tide
With back-to-back wins at Evansville and Missouri and a cancelled game against Saint Louis, the Redbirds haven’t posted a win in over two weeks. The Birds last victory came at IPFW on Sept. 16, when Illinois State shut out the Mastodons, 4-0. That four-goal victory was ISU’s largest margin of victory on the year.
Convert those Corners
The Redbirds have booted 52 corner kicks on the year, compared to just 33 by their competitors. Illinois State has recorded more corner kicks than its opponent in six of 10 games in 2006, and in those six games ISU owns a 3-2-1 record.
Queen of the Mountain
Lauren Podolski continued her record-breaking season in ISU’s 2-1 victory over Northern Iowa. Podolski scored a goal and assisted the game winner to become the all-time career leader in each category with 20 goals and 13 assists accumulated during her time at Indiana State.
Podolski is on course to set all-time season records in points, goals and assists. The junior forward has tallied six goals and five assists for 17 points on the season. The current record, set in 2004, is held by Nichole Tiggs with 22 points on eight goals and six assists.
Indiana State is off to its best start in school history. A majority of the success can be credited to the Sycamore attack that has produced 18 goals and 21 assists in the first ten games. ISU is on pace to break the all-time team marks of goals, assists and points in a season held by the 2001 Sycamore squad with 27 goals, 24 assists and 78 points.
Caroline Sweeney’s hat trick was only the fourth in Missouri State history. It is also the second-straight year that a Bear has scored a hat trick against Northern Iowa with Chelsea Anderson scoring all three goals in Missouri State’s 3-1 victory over the Panthers in 2005.
Caroline Sweeney has a total of eight goals on the season which places her fifth on Missouri State’s single-season leaders list for goals. She only needs five more on the season to hold the record of most goals in a season.
The last time Missouri State scored seven or more goals in a match was in 2000 with a 7-0 victory over Arkansas State. There have only been two other occasions when the Bears scored over seven goals and both were in MSU’s inaugural 1996 season.
Top of the Pops
The Panthers recorded a season-high 14 shots and tied a season high with eight shots-on-goal against Indiana State last week. Amy Seubert and Jenna O’Hara led the way for UNI with two shots-on-goal each.
Top of the Pops (2)
Junior goalkeeper Krista Thorley added 11 saves to her conference leading 68 saves. Last week’s effort solidifies Thorley’s saves lead in the conference, giving her a total of 79.