Senior scores three goals in two matches

Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

Senior Meagan Radloff has scored a lot of goals in her career, but none quite like the one she scored last Friday against Belmont.

With just a few minutes to go in the first half on a cold and windy day, Radloff lined up for a set piece following a Belmont penalty. The Panthers and Bruins were playing their third ever meeting as Ohio Valley Conference teams not on Lakeside Field, but on the Eastern’s practice field.

Heavy rains put Lakeside Field underwater, moving Friday’s women’s match and Satruday’s men’s match against Denver to a new location. It was not ideal, but the teams had to make the most of it.

Radloff’s kick sailed through the air and didn’t come down until it was already in the back of the net. Radloff scored from about 40 yards out, tying the match going into halftime.

The Panthers were unable to score again on the Bruins that day, but Radloff’s goal, her second of the season at that point, was something she had never seen before.

“I’ve never really scored off a set piece,” she said. “It was kind of weird. I wasn’t expecting it to go in, definitely.”

Radloff’s goal went down as unassisted, but it may have gotten a little help from the wind on the way in. The senior from West Chicago said she wasn’t even completely sure that the ball went in.

She said until her teammates came back and said no one touched the ball, she didn’t know it had landed in the net.

“It was kind of a nice surprise,” she said.

Radloff’s second of three goals last weekend also came off a set piece, but this one was not as surprising.

Radloff said she knew that with the way Austin Peay was lining up defensively, the Panthers had a good chance to score and they were abele to take advantage.

“Sometimes it usually just depends on the way the other team is setting up their defense, so it’s usually not open,” she said. “We saw the chance and we took it and it worked, so it’s good to see.”

Radloff said the team works on set pieces all the time in practice, so seeing one result in a goal was proof of hard work paying off.

Radloff’s third goal of the weekend came off a penalty kick, her second of the season. Radloff was able to convert the goal with ease and set up a 3-1 win over Austin Peay. Now, Radloff said she feels like she’s getting into the same stride she was in last season, which is good news for the Panthers. Radloff scored a team-high seven goals last season, all against OVC teams. Now, after earning OVC Player of the Week honors, the Panthers are 1-3 and preparing for a road trip this weekend.

This weekend, the Panthers travel to Cookeville, Tenn., for a match 3 p.m. Friday to take on Tennessee Tech, a team Radloff scored twice against last season. On Sunday, the Panthers travel to Jacksonville State at 1 p.m., another team Radloff found the back of the net against in a 2-1 win last season.

“This is kind of when I started scoring my goals last year, so I was kind of just waiting for it to come, hoping it would, so it felt good,” she said.

Hopefully for the Panthers, she’s right.

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