Joplin, Mo. - After playing a scoreless draw at home against Lindenwood on Sunday, the Missouri Southern Lions soccer team hits the road this weekend for a pair of MIAA matches traveling to face #11 Central Missouri on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Southwest Baptist on Saturday at noon.
The Lions (2-4-3, 1-1-3 MIAA) would fire 27 shots on the afternoon against the Lady Lions, their second highest total of the year, while shooting a season-high 12 on goal. After dropping their first three matches of the season, the Lions have been 2-1-3 in their past six games as their defense has been very solid giving up only five goals while limiting their opponents to a .053 shooting percentage. Junior goalkeeper Beth Hammons has been sensational in net during the stretch making 32 saves while allowing only three goals and having a .914 save percentage.
On the year, the Lions have a .384 SOG percentage as a team and continue to be led in scoring by junior forward Katelyn Roberson with seven points (3G, 1A). Sophomore forward Karley Thomas continues to lead the MIAA and the team with five assists on the year. Senior forward Tiffany Lauglin leads Southern with 21 shots, while junior defender Courtney Fielden has 14.
About Central Missouri: The Jennies come into Thursday's match ranked 11th in the country by the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) coming off big wins over Southwest Baptist and East Central last weekend. The Jennies have a 7-1-2 overall record, 4-0-1 in the MIAA with their lone loss of the year coming at #4 Minnesota State 3-0. The Jennies lead the MIAA in goals (33), assists (19) and points (85) while allowing only eight goals on the year, the second fewest in the MIAA. UCM is coming off a big scoring weekend as they outscored SBU and ECU a combined 17-2 as they would claim a 8-1 win over the Bearcats and follow it up with a 9-1 win over the Lady Tigers.
The Jennies have a balanced offense as they have eight players who have registered at least 10 shots on the year. They are led in scoring by senior midfielder Becky Lackey who has 13 points (4G, 5A) to rank second in the conference. Freshman Hannah Pyle and Hannah Moran lead UCM six goals apiece while eight other Jennies have also notched at least one goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Hartzler has been solid in net with a 0.66 GAA and a .800 save percentage. Led by seventh-year head coach Lewis Theobald, the Jennies hold a 17-7-2 overall record over the Lions. The Lions are 4-7-1 all-time on the road at UCM with their last victory in Warrensburg coming October 13, 2007 over the then-ranked #5 Jennies 2-0.
About Southwest Baptist: The Bearcats come into Saturday afternoon's match fresh off a 2-0 nonconference win at Southern Nazarene on Monday. SBU sports a 6-4-1 overall record, 2-3 in the MIAA on the year with wins over Nebraska-Kearney (2-1) and Fort Hays St. (2-1). SBU is led in scoring by sophomore midfielder Kate Jamison who has 12 points (5G, 2A) on the season while her sister Karla has eight points (3G, 2A). Senior goalkeeper Paige Hemphill has been a mainstay in net as she has a .721 save percentage while making 49 saves having played in all 11 matches.
Led by fifth-year head coach Rob Podeyn, the Bearcats went 7-9-3, 4-6-2 in the MIAA last year falling to Central Missouri in the first round of the MIAA Tournament. The Lions and Bearcats are deadlocked at 12-12-3 in their overall series, but Southern is only 4-8-1 in Bolivar. The two teams tied 1-1 last year in Joplin, with the Lions last win at SBU coming just two years ago in 2011 when they went home victorious pulling out a 2-1 double overtime win.