Visiting UT Martin scored the game-winner off a corner kick in the 77th minute to narrowly defeat the Eastern Kentucky University soccer team, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at EKU Soccer Field.
The loss drops EKU to 2-10-2 (1-3-1 OVC) on the year. UTM, the defending Ohio Valley Conference champion, improves to 6-7-1 (4-1-0 OVC).
The first half of the game was dominated by both teams' defenses. Sophomore Amadi Thomas had EKU's best chance to score, finding herself in a one-on-one situation with UTM goalkeeper Sarah Thompkins; however, Tompkins – fresh off the bench to replace injured starter Mariah Klenke – made a save to prevent the goal.
EKU kept the defending conference champions at bay for much of the second half, until the 77th minute, when Dominika Conc lofted a corner kick to Lucy Pater, who made a nice pass to Aoife Lennon, who headed it in for the decisive score.
Senior Kristan Paynter had a good look at a goal in the final 10 minutes of the game, but Tompkins, again, came up with a big save to seal the victory.
"Our team is fighting hard and battling right now, there is no question about that." head coach Melissa Barnes said. "We have to continue to perfect our presence in both boxes with becoming more proficient in the attacking 18 and more tuned in on set pieces defensively. We will work hard to get better again this week."
Paynter and freshman Cassie Smith both attempted two shots in the game. Senior Nikki Donnelly led the Colonels with three shots on the afternoon.
Sophomore Samm Melton made her second consecutive start in goal for EKU and made seven saves while allowing just one goal.
EKU continues its home stand next weakened, hosting Murray State (Oct. 18) and Austin Peay (Oct. 20).