Women’s soccer team hopes to rebound after 0-2 first weekend


Jason Howell

Sophomore forward Gabby Charles maneuvers around an opponent in a match against Southeast Missouri on Friday at Lakeside Field. The Panthers lost to SEMO 4-0.

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s soccer team is coming off a 0-2 start in the Ohio Valley Conference, but is hoping to get the ball rolling again on Friday against an opponent it upset last year.

The Panthers take on Belmont at 3 p.m. Friday at Lakeside Field in a rematch of what was Eastern’s first OVC win of the season in 2013. Eastern beat Belmont 1-0 in overtime on Sept. 27, 2013, off a corner kick from Molly Hawkins.

Eastern scored just twice in nine matches before Belmont last season. Senior defender Allie Lakie remembers what it was like to get the team’s first win of the season.

“I remember we had a really hard time scoring last season and when we got that goal and the feeling we felt on the bench or on the field when the win came,” she said. “Hopefully we can remember that game from last year and try and pull the win this year.”

Belmont enters the weekend after drawing in its first two OVC matches last week against Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky.

“They’re really dynamic,” Eastern head coach Jason Cherry said. “They play inside-out and then try to come in at you. They have some good, dynamic forwards that are good one-v-one, so we’re going to have to be aware of that.”

Despite the loss, Belmont out-shot Eastern 24-7 in last season’s matchup. Then-goalkeeper Cortney Jerzy made 14 saves that day, keeping the Bruins out of the net and giving the Panthers the win.

The Panthers will be without Jerzy, who has been out all season, and red-shirt sophomore Kylie Morgan this week, as Morgan continues to recover from an injured shoulder. Junior Emily Hinton will again be in goal after giving up four goals against Southeast Missouri and three against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

“If we work together I think we can be successful, but we’ll just have to watch their forwards and not give them time on the ball,” Cherry said.

Standout freshman forward Belicia Mendiola leads Belmont with five goals this season. Sophomore Meg Howard and senior Taylor Smith have both started every match for the Bruins this season and each has one goal.

The Panthers are home again on Sunday, taking on Austin Peay at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Field.

The Governors, who beat the Panthers last season 3-0, are a different looking team this season, having lost their two Colombian national players, Tatiana and Natalia Ariza. The Ariza’s signed with the Houston Aces of the Women’s Premier Soccer League in March.

Despite losing two powers, Cherry said Austin Peay is still a good team. Another international player, Gina Fabbro, of British Columbia, currently leads the team with three goals.

Cherry said Austin Peay plays like a lot of other teams in the OVC – in a 4-3-3, wide, and tries to stretch out its opponents.

“I think they’ll do that and try to isolate and try to win the one-v-one matchup,” he said. “I think for us to be successful, we have to do a better job with the one-v-one matchups with both teams. If we can do that, I think we’ll have a good weekend.”

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