Indiana State meets Evansville at 4:30 p.m. today at Morrison Stadium in just the third Missouri Valley Conference women’s soccer semifinal appearance in school history.
The fifth-seeded Sycamores advanced by beating fourth-seeded Northern Iowa in a penalty-kick shootout after a scoreless tie in quarterfinal play on Sunday. Evansville, the league’s top-seeded team, had a first-round bye.
Defender Kourtney Vassar and freshman goalkeeper Erin Mitchell each picked up MVC Player of the Week honors for that win and the 1-0 overtime win at Missouri State on Oct. 25 that enabled ISU to qualify for the conference tournament.
Evansville has a 9-6-1 advantage in its series with the Sycamores, including a 3-0 win in Evansville on Oct. 17.
Today’s match will be just the second between the two teams on a neutral field, the other being the Aces’ 2-0 victory at Omaha in 2008 for the conference championship. Evansville also has beaten Indiana State in tournament play in 2000 and 2006.
The Aces were picked last in the MVC’s preseason poll and started the season 1-6, but have been 4-1-3 since Sept. 11 and are 4-1-1 in conference play. Two freshmen have led the way, Simone Busby in goal (five shutouts) and Abby Springer on offense (five goals and two assists).
Indiana State, 7-9-3, hasn’t allowed a goal since its last match against the Aces. Mitchell has seven shutouts for the season and another freshman, Sydney Lovelace, led the conference in shots with 54.
Winner of today’s match plays at 4 p.m. Sunday against second-seeded Illinois State or host Creighton. The championship match will be televised live on the MVC TV Network.
n Mayhew gets conference award — Just days removed from winning the Big Ten cross country individual title, Indiana senior Zach Mayhew was unanimously picked by the conference coaches as the 2012 Big Ten Athlete of the Year.
The Terre Haute North graduate was the first Hoosier male to win the conference individual title since Bob Kennedy in 1992. His time of 23:30 bettered two Wisconsin stars, former All-American Maverick Darling and 2012 Olympian Mohammed Ahmed.
Another former Patriot runner, Mayhew’s former teammate John Mascari, won the same award from the Missouri Valley Conference earlier this week.