Camille Barber

Murray State’s Camille Barber (3) battles Tennessee Tech’s Emily Carlevato (16) for possession of the ball during Tuesday’s game.

The Murray State women’s soccer team returned home to host Tennessee Tech on match day seven of 10 on Tuesday afternoon. The Racers returned to their winning ways, grinding out a 1-0 victory over the Golden Eagles at Cutchin Field.

“We changed some stuff from Friday, and I think that was evident today. We had only practiced it a couple days, but the girls executed it brilliantly. … I think it was the right result, and I’m proud of the performance,” MSU assistant coach Paul Cox said.

With possession relatively even through the early stages of the game as both sides looked to get a read on the opposition, the Racers would be the team to make the breakthrough when they got on the scoreboard in the 20th minute.

TTU goalkeeper Isabelle Austin fouled Abby Jones just inside the penalty area, and sophomore Lauren Payne converted the ensuing penalty kick to put the Racers in front with 25 minutes remaining in the first half of action.

The Racers continued to control the tempo through the remainder of the first half, owning 60% of the possession through the first 45 minutes.

Jenna Villacres refused to concede in goal for the Racers, as the sophomore goalkeeper made five second-half saves to keep the Golden Eagles scoreless. While she came up with highlight-reel plays on more than one occasion, leading the way was a brilliant stop in the 71st minute to deny Tennessee Tech’s Meg Ivey from a one-touch finish inside the six-yard box.

Murray State calmly managed the game in the final stages to preserve the clean-sheet victory, improving to 6-1 while extending their OVC home winning streak to nine matches dating back to the first conference contest of the 2019 season.

“The one thing we spoke about in the locker room before the game and in the scout this morning was that we needed a response from Friday. It wasn’t good enough. We knew it wasn’t good enough and we let ourselves down, but our response today was brilliant. If we can take that into the next three games, then I think we’ll be in a good place come the end of the season,” Cox said.

Payne’s penalty-kick goal is her second of the season and the second from the spot in as many opportunities as the Louisville native collected her fourth career goal. Villacres made six total saves on the day to record her second clean sheet of the season.

The Racers will return to action on Friday when they begin a two-game road trip with a 7 p.m. kick against SIUE in Edwardsville.

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