EUREKA — The Eureka women's soccer program pushed through in a monsoon at McKinzie Field and seized a historic 1-0 victory over Blackburn on Wednesday evening.
It was the first Eureka women's soccer victory in a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match since Oct. 13, 2015 and the first win over Blackburn since Nov. 4, 2013.
It was also second-year coach Shelby Chrisman-Forza's first SLIAC win and first win at home – and the team's first-ever at McKinzie Field.
"I think it was a really well-deserved win," said junior holding midfielder Lindsey Johnston (Evansville, Ind./Harrison). "It was a really big accomplishment for our team to have won a game in conference for the first time in five and a half years."
With extraordinarily challenging weather conditions, it was difficult to control and possess the ball, so both teams took turns defending for their lives every time the ball was on their half.
But in the 64th minute, the Red Devils broke through with a goal by junior Sydney Grant (Morton, Ill./Morton) off an assist by Madison Shines (Marengo, Ill/Marengo). Shines received a through ball, attacked the box and laid it off to Grant, who slotted it right past the keeper.
"It just tipped it to the right of goalie and it went in," Grant said. "It was super exciting. It seemed like it helped liven us up.
It was Grant's second collegiate goal and her first as a Red Devil. After that, the Red Devils made sure the lone goal stood.
Junior goalkeeper Abby Swope (Canton, Ill./Canton) recorded three major saves – including an impressive diving one in the 80th minute — and got the win.
Center backs Emma Harris (Streator, Ill./Streator) and Michaela Mall (Princeton, Ill./Princeton), outside backs Hope Binder (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) and Kayla Enochs (Greenfield, Ind./Central Greenfield) and Johnston all played a major role in notching the clean sheet.
It was the Red Devils' first shutout since Sept. 5, 2015 and their first SLIAC shutout since Nov. 4, 2013.
"I think that our team is up-and-coming," Grant said. "We're definitely rebuilding and this is a lot of good to build off of."