TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts University women’s soccer team looks to clinch a Southland Conference tournament spot on Friday as the Golden Eagles host Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. at the Case Soccer Complex.
On Sunday, the Golden Eagles play the second of a three-game homestand to close the regular season as Northwestern State visits ORU at 1 p.m.
Not only is ORU (12-4-0, 7-2-0) in search of locking up a tournament bid, but the Golden Eagles are still in the heat of the regular season championship battle with Stephen F. Austin and Southeastern Louisiana.
SFA is currently sitting atop of the conference standings, one game ahead of ORU and SLU, who are tied for second. SLU currently holds the tie breaker over the Golden Eagles, but if SFA were to lose and move into a tie with the Golden Eagles, ORU holds the tie breaker.
If the season ends in a three-way tie, based on the head-to-head results of the three teams, the tournament seeding will be determined by the results of the tied teams versus the lower finishers, starting with place below them.
Heading in to the next to last weekend of the regular season, senior Jennifer Abernathy and sophomore Kayla Keller have produced one of the top combined seasons in program history with eight goals each. Three other Golden Eagles have netted five goals to date, including Mary-Kate Halsmer, Megan Giles and Jordan Parsons.
The most recent Southland Goalkeeper of the Week, Maddie Rhodes, has played well since moving into the starting role. The sophomore keeper has only allowed nine goals in 13 matches played. Rhodes’ current goals against average of 0.75 is on pace for a single season school record, while her .850 save percentage would be the second best single season mark.
UCA enters Friday’s match with a 7-7-2 overall record and a 4-4-0 mark in SLC play. Just like the Golden Eagles, the Bears have a lot to play for as they are one of six teams currently competing for the final three spots in the conference tournament.
Last Sunday, the Bears snapped a three-match losing streak as they handed Houston Baptist a 1-0 loss. Senior Andriana Lucar scored her team leading ninth goal in the victory, which is tied for second most in the league.
Three different keepers have started five or more matches for the Bears this season, with all three getting the call in the previous three matches.
In 2012, the Golden Eagles topped the Bears on the road in double-overtime. Giles earned assists on both ORU goals with Keller scoring the first goal of the match just six minutes into the first. The Golden Eagles are 2-0 versus the Bears.
The Lady Demons are one of the more improved teams in the Southland this season, entering this weekend’s slate with at 4-4-1 in the conference and 6-9-1 overall. Picked to finish eighth in the preseason polls, the Lady Demons are currently sitting in the fourth place spot, a half game ahead of UCA and Sam Houston State.
Last weekend, the Lady Demons blanked Nicholls State 3-0 at home behind a pair of goals by Ashlee Savona. However, two days later, they were shutout by SLU.
Scoring goals has been a struggled for NSU this season as Savona leads the team with four goals, followed by Brooke Eastburg with three and Taylor Mulnix has added two. For the season, the Lady Demons have been outscored 31-15.
Keeping the Lady Demons in the conference tournament race has been keeper Jessica Danku. The senior has recorded 63 saves in conference matches this season, second most in the conference.
Against NSU in 2012, the Golden Eagles rolled in a pair of shutouts, 5-0 on Aug. 31 in a non-conference meeting and 3-0 on Oct. 5 in a conference showdown. Abernathy had a two-game hat trick against the Lady Demons, placing two in the back of the net in the second meeting.
ORU hasn’t lost to the Lady Demons in four meetings between the two programs.