RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande women’s soccer team moved one step closer toward earning a home game in the first round of the upcoming Mid-South Conference tournament.
Carrie Mathes’ goal with just over 14 minutes remaining in regulation snapped a scoreless tie and lifted the RedStorm to a 1-0 victory over rival Shawnee State University, Saturday night, in front of a season-high crowd of 571 fans at Evan E. Davis Field.
Rio Grande improved to 8-5 overall and 4-2 in the MSC with the win.
Head coach Callum Morris’ squad also moved to within one win of, essentially, clinching no worse than a No. 4 seed - and a first-round home game - in the MSC tournament.
“It was a massive game for us, not only because we were playing a rival but because of our standing in the conference,” Morris said. “It was a must-win for us to maintain where we were. Now we have to take this win into Wednesday (a home match against St. Catharine) and see if we can keep our momentum going.”
The RedStorm and the Bears both had scoring opportunities that they failed to take advantage of until Mathes found the back of the net with 14:15 left to play.
Mathes, a freshman defender from Springboro, Ohio, rifled a rebound shot into the cords just after Shawnee State goal keeper Emily Kuehn had stopped a shot by fellow freshman Carli Henman (Bellfontaine, OH).
“I thought we had three or four chances in the first half where we should’ve been long gone - the game should’ve been finished off before the half. We didn’t take advantage, though, and we ended up giving them a few chances,” said Morris. “The second half was a lot of the same thing until we made a change and put (freshman midfielder) Ashley Meek and Carli in the game. Carli was able to get behind the defense and get a shot off. We were able to capitalize on the save they made and hang on.”
Rio Grande finished with a 19-14 edge in shots, including an 11-3 advantage in the second half. The RedStorm also enjoyed a 7-4 cushion in shots on goal.
Junior goal keeper Allison Keeney (Cincinnati, OH) collected four saves en route to her sixth shutout effort of the season.
“Allison made some really nice saves for us, especially in the first half,” Morris said.
Kuehn stopped six shots in a losing cause for Shawnee State, which has gone 1-4-1 since opening the season with six straight wins.
Rio Grande’s match with St. Catharine on Wednesday night is scheduled for a 5 p.m. kickoff.