MURRAY, Ky. – SIUE women's soccer became the first Ohio Valley Conference team to defeat Murray State since October 2014. The fourth-seeded Cougars upended the top-seeded Racers 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Friday.
SIUE will face Eastern Kentucky for the OVC Championship Sunday at 1 p.m. at Murray State's Cutchin Field.
"We've played a number of games this year that prepared us for (an overtime game)," SIUE Head Coach Derek Burton said. "Still you never know going into a situation where it could be your last game."
Peyton Roehnelt buried the game-winner from five yards away with just 11 seconds left in overtime. After a giveaway by the Racers, Caroline Hoefert nabbed the loose ball and made a short run into the box to find Roehnelt who sent a shot into the roof of the net.
"You make your own luck," Burton said. "We have some hungry players."
After a scoreless first half, the Cougars' Sydney Moore opened the scoring, putting the Cougars on top in the 57th minute. Emily Grahl made a run down the middle before playing a wide ball to Hoefert on the right side. Hoefert sent a low cross into the box which Moore finished with a right-footed side-volley to make it 1-0.
"Caroline Hoefert put in a lot of work today," Burton added. "She played a real gritty game."
The OVC Player of the Year, Harriet Withers answered for Murray State in the 65th minute. Withers redirected a bounding ball over SIUE goalkeeper Juli Rossi to tie the score at one apiece.
"The goal we gave up essentially bounced off the offensive player of the year," Burton said. "The game has a way of being cruel sometimes but can also be just. We gave up one that wasn't pretty and got one as well."
Burton praised his entire team and specifically mentioned sophomore Courtney Benning.
"She may have been the best player out there today," he said. "She was unbelievable. Here is yet another player who is peaking at the right time."
Burton said the team will be ready for Sunday.
"We're enjoying right now," he said. "We'll get our legs back under us tomorrow. I couldn't be more proud of the team. I am really looking forward to the next couple of days."