Lady Lions shutout opponents in weekend matches

The Lady Lions battled through the weekend, picking up key wins on the road and at home to try to secure a spot in the conference tournament.
Southeastern (9-6-1, 3-2-1) now has 10 points in the conference after wins over Nicholls State (5-10-0, 0-5-0) and Central Arkansas (9-6-1, 1-4-1). Only six teams made it into the tournament last year.
“We’re all battling to get into the conference tournament, and today was a big step to put us toward that,” said head coach Blake Hornbuckle. “We’re not in yet, so we have to continue to work hard to get there.”
After a near goal by sophomore midfielder Jen Babcock that struck the side post, senior midfielder/forward Megan Miller latched onto a cross by senior forward Kailey Mills in the 38th minute, scoring her first goal of the season.
“It was really exciting,” said Miller. “It gets the team going. It’s always a good motivation for you when you score and, I don’t know, you can’t do it without your teammates. I had a great ball in from another senior, Kailey, so she helped me get in there and it’s just running through the ball.”
The score was doubled in the 72nd minute with a goal by senior midfielder/defender Sam McNally that slowly rolled in after the shot went underneath the keeper. Miller had the assist.
As far as the back four are concerned, the Lady Lion defense has been locking down opponents, not allowing a goal to either team over the weekend. Freshman midfielder Cheyenne Maxwell attributes the improving defense to constant communication.
“Just keep talking to them,” said Maxwell. “A lot of communication from the keepers to the outside backs to the center backs, we just have to keep talking and keep it strong.”
Though listed as a midfielder, Maxwell works as a defender, chasing down balls that try to slip the defense.
“One thing I have to do is run through every single ball,” said Maxwell. “Every time that it’s in the air, I have to make sure I’m hunting for the ball, and if I can, I’m looking for the diagonal ball out every time to our forwards.”
Before the game, Hornbuckle talked with the team in their pregame about “competing every minute.” The defense, as well as key bench players, worked through injuries to pick up the win.
“Our back line was a big key to today’s match,” said Hornbuckle. “They did a good job of matching, tracking, making sure that we didn’t get caught behind, players getting in behind us. They did a really good job of winning balls today and also connecting passes to our midfield and forwards.”
Senior forward Maiya Cooper sat out the match against Central Arkansas with an injury to her knee and is listed as day to day.
The Lady Lions will play two more conference matches before the regular season ends. They will be on the road this weekend going up against Oral Roberts and finish the season at home against Northwestern State on Friday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. in the Southeastern Soccer Complex.