Panthers put in extra time to prepare for Green Bay

Junior midfielder Bianca Navejas fends off an opponent in a game on Aug. 31 at Lakeside Field.  The Panthers lost to Louisiana Tech 3-1.  The Panthers are 0-6 overall.

Jason Howell

Junior midfielder Bianca Navejas fends off an opponent in a game on Aug. 31 at Lakeside Field. The Panthers lost to Louisiana Tech 3-1. The Panthers are 0-6 overall.

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

For the first time all season, the Eastern women’s soccer team plays just one match this weekend, taking on Wisconsin-Green Bay at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lakeside Field. Without the usual Friday match, the Panthers have more time to focus and prepare for their one and only opponent of the week.

“When we don’t have two games in a weekend, we have more time to work on stuff and we’ll probably get a scrimmage in on Friday instead of having a game,” senior forward Meagan Radloff said.

The Panthers, 0-6, are coming off two losses against Missouri-Kansas City and IUPUI. They now prepare to face Wisconsin-Green Bay, a team they lost to in 2013.

“We played well against them,” Radloff said. “We stayed with them, but I know they were really physical and they had a couple fast girls on the outsides that we’re going to have to watch.”

Eastern lost to Wisconsin-Green Bay 2-0 on the road in the second weekend of non-conference play last season. The Panthers gave up two goals in the 63rd and 67th minute. Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Heidi Hartmann, who had an assist against the Panthers last season, was the team’s leading points scorer last year with two goals and three assists.

Now in her junior season, Hartmann is already leading the Phoenix again, but with much more impressive numbers. The five-foot-nine forward from Plymouth, Minn., has six goals in six matches, including two match-winning goals.

The Phoenix finished 4-8-5 last season, coming in last place in the Horizon League and missing the tournament. Wisconsin-Green Bay has already matched its win total from last season, starting out this year 4-2 with wins over IUPUI, Northern Iowa, North Dakota and Chicago State.

Junior forward Hannah Miller said she remembers Wisconsin-Green Bay being a fast, physical team.

“Definitely a strong team, I remember that,” she said. “They played just really fast. I remember we were in the game, we held it.”

Miller said a key for the Panthers this year is to score early and hold them. Of the Panthers four goals this season, two have come in the first half. The Panthers have given up 19 total goals this season, with 12 coming in the second half.

With extra time to prepare this week, Miller said the team has focused a lot on bonding and trying to grow stronger together.

“I think it becomes important especially when you’re losing, you need to rally the team together and work together and that’s something that we need to work on,” she said.

Miller said the team did group exercises like wheelbarrows across the field, holding the ball in between the backs of players and blindfolding each other and guiding teammates through an obstacle course. Miller said the team had fun and learned how to support each other.

Red-shirt senior Lauren Hoppensteadt, who left Sunday’s match with an ankle injury, is doubtful for this week’s match, as she did not practice and is still on crutches and wearing a walking-boot.


Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].