Soccer season ends in heartbreak


Senior forward Saraya Young shoots one of the Racers’ two shots on goal against Missouri State. Photo courtesy of Racer Athletics.

Ronan Summers, Staff Writer

After a spectacular tournament run, the Racers’ soccer season ended just one match shy of an MVC Championship.

The first part of the season did not go Murray State’s way, as the team had a record of 1-6-1 before conference play rolled around. By the end of the season, during conference play, the Racers had a record of 4-11-3 after going 3-5-2 against conference opponents.

Going into the tournament as the underdog, Head Coach Matt Lodge had a message for what the clean slate could do for his team.

“Start fresh,” Lodge said. “We split the season into three parts, and this is our third and final go.”

That is exactly what his team did. Luckily for the Racers, they had done enough to make it into the third part of the season—the postseason. 

The Racers defeated Drake 1-0 and SIU 2-1, making their way into the semifinals against the first seed Valparaiso University Beacons. There was one thing these teams had in common: they all defeated Murray State in the regular season.

vs. Valparaiso

Murray State picked up the win against Valparaiso in the Beacons’ own backyard on Thursday, Nov. 3, advancing to the championship round of the MVC Tournament. 

The lone goal of the matchup came in the 12th minute off the foot of freshman midfielder Mary Hardy. The goal was assisted by senior forward Saraya Young. 

Murray State had five of their 17 shots on goal. Valparaiso shot the ball 22 times, and nine of those shots were on goal. Racers senior goalie Jamie Skarupsky played for the entirety of the matchup, saving all nine of the Beacons’ shots on target.

Young finished the match with two shots on goal and an assist. Hardy scored on her only attempt that was on target; she shot the ball twice in the game. Freshman forward Sydney Etter and senior midfielder Lauren Payne also had a shot on goal respectively. 

The Racers’ 1-0 victory meant they would then face the second seed Missouri State Bears in the MVC Championship. 

vs. Missouri State

The pressure was on the Racers throughout the championship game, as the Missouri State Bears were on the attack offensively. The Bears finished the match with 21 total shots taken, 10 on goal. 

Despite the constant attack, the Racers’ defense held strong until the Bears scored the first goal of the match in the 55th minute, breaking the scoreless tie. 

The goal was scored by the Bears’ freshman midfielder Hailey Chambliss. Sophomore midfielder Kaeli Benedict and junior forward Gracie English were credited with the assist. 

The Racers were unable to get on the board offensively, and they ultimately fell to the Bears 1-0. This ended the Racers’ late-season run. 

The Racers took seven shots in the game, two of them on goal. Skarupsky played all 90 minutes and finished the match with nine saves. Young and freshman midfielder Tori Schrimpf each had one of the Racers’ two shots on goal. 

Despite the loss, Lodge was proud to see how far his team had come. They had gone into the tournament as the bottom seed and ended up surprising many people.

“I’m proud of how they fought,” Lodge said. ”It’s very easy to go in as an eighth seed and accept that that’s your fate.”

Lodge’s attention is now turned toward next year. His first season as a head coach in the MVC started off rocky, but now he and his team know their opponents a little bit better. Lodge hopes that the momentum from the tournament carries over to next season.

“I think it’s just to feed off of what we did in the tournament and not dwell too much on what happened before that,” Lodge said. “We’ve now seen the level of the MVC, and we know we’re good enough to play in it.”

The Racers will get ready for the 2023 spring season by playing in exhibition games. With the first-year jitters in the new conference now out of the way, a MVC championship title is on the mind of the Racers’ soccer team.


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