KEARNEY, Neb.— With the regular season dwindling down, every game is becoming more crucial for the Fort Hays State women's soccer team. In their first contest of the final weekend, the Tigers needed overtime against the Lopers but secured the 2-1 win in Kearney following an early goal from Olympia Katsouridis. The win improved FHSU to 9-6-2 and 7-3 in MIAA play, while the Lopers dropped to 5-11-1 and a 3-6-1 conference mark.
Fort Hays State got on the board first as freshman Cailey Perkins captured her seventh goal of the season as she headed the ball in off an assist from Darby Hirsch in the 12th minute of play. FHSU held the 1-0 lead over UNK until Megan Merkel found fellow Loper Megan Cook inside the box after a rebounded shot to tie up the match at 1-1 in the 25th minute.
The 1-1 tie held steady for the remainder of regulation, forcing overtime between the two programs. In the previous meeting this season for UNK and FHSU, that contest also needed extra time before the Tigers claimed the 1-0 victory off a Hirsch goal.
It was a similar tale for the Tigers this match as well, as Katsouridis only needed 36 seconds in overtime to notch the game-winning goal. Katsouridis recorded her third goal of the year in a header off an assist from Nikita Woods just eight yards out. Fort Hays State stole the 2-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney.
UNK outshot Fort Hays State by a 12-9 margin with nine hitting on target compared to eight from the Tigers. Hirsch led all players with four shots on the day.
Megan Kneefel recorded the win in net for the Tigers as she documented eight saves in her 12 shots faced. Kneefel boosts her season record as anchor FHSU to 8-5-2 and increased her total saves to 72.
Fort Hays State has already clinched a spot in the conference tournament; however, it will come down to how Sunday's matches around the conference shake out to determine if the Tigers will host or hit the road for their first round matchup.
The Tigers will host Washburn for their final regular season contest of the year on Sunday (Oct. 18) for Senior Day. The Ichabods and Tigers are set for first kick at 1 p.m. at FHSU Soccer Stadium.