No. 3 Southeastern and No. 9 Keiser Reach Stalemate in Back and Forth Affair
LAKELAND, Fla. – In a highly touted NAIA Top 10 matchup in which two premier sides battled back and forth for 110 minutes, the No. 3 Southeastern University women’s soccer team tied the No. 9 Keiser University Seahawks 1-1. The goal scored by Fire was the first netted against the Seahawks in Sun Conference play this season.
“We went to overtime and battled hard. Both teams were tired and knackered. Two top teams went toe to toe tonight and I think you saw a good performance tonight from both of them,” shared head coach Randy Belli.
SEU wasted little time asserting itself out front, as junior forward Uchenna Kanu netted her 30th goal of the season 1:54 into the contest. Kanu received a pass from graduate midfielder across the box and beat a Seahawks’ defender to finish the chance and put the Fire ahead 1-0.
Matilda Ovenberger, the leading scorer for Keiser on the season, responded with her 19th goal on the year in the 19th minute to knot things up 1-1.
In the rest of the first half, the Fire edged the Seahawks in shots on frame 2-1, however neither team was able to finish, resulting in a 1-1 tie at the half.
Southeastern’s closest chance to pull ahead in the second half came in the 86th minute when a header by Kanu hit the crossbar and landed right at the goal line before being cleared out.
The Fire had a pair of key players step up defensively to preserve the tie.
Freshman goalkeeper Holly Eddins made eight of her career-high 10 saves in the second half or overtime periods.
Junior outside back Sierra Clayton came into the first half after an SEU injury and played a career-high 92 minutes, constantly disrupting the Keiser attack.
“She (Clayton) played more minutes than she’s probably ever played in a match and she was fantastic. She was one of the top players on the pitch tonight,” remarked Belli.
Both teams were even at five shots apiece in the two 10-minute overtime periods.
The Fire continue Sun Conference play on the road this Saturday in Miramar versus Florida Memorial. Match time is set for 6 p.m.