Women’s soccer team opens season Friday


Jason Howell

Senior midfielder Molly Hawkins attempts to dispossess an opponent during a match on Oct. 17, 2014 at the Eastern practice field.

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

Coming into the preseason, Eastern senior midfielder Molly Hawkins said her team came in more ready than she has seen it in the past three years.

Hawkins said this has led to setting the bar high for the past two weeks.

“If everyone keeps this intensity and drive that we’ve had through preseason, I think we’re going to be surprising a lot of our opponents,” Hawkins said.

The Panthers open the season Friday with 11 freshmen on the roster, which includes three freshmen at goalkeeper, who stood their ground in the Panthers’ 2-1 loss in an exhibition game Sunday at Evansville.

Freshmen Maddie Lyon and Erin Morgan shut down the Aces in the first 60 minutes of action.

Liz Carmody allowed two goals and made one save in her first collegiate game.

With Hawkins being a senior and how young the Panther team is, she thinks her role on the team has a big impact.

“Myself, as well as the other seniors on the team, have just been trying to set good examples and show the underclassmen how important it is to work hard very at practice,” she said. “As a senior, it’s really important to show support for my teammates, whether it’s on the field playing with them or on the bench cheering them on.”

Hawkins added the coaches have been trying to stress to the underclassmen everyone on the team is the same.

The Panthers will be facing a “well-coached” team in IUPUI, which is coached by Chris Johnson, according to Eastern’s third-year coach Jason Cherry.

Johnson is in his 11th season at IUPUI and was named Summit League Coach of the Year three times in his tenure.

Last season, the Panthers lost to the Jaguars, 3-2, in Charleston. Now-senior Chris Reed and former Panther Meagan Radloff scored the Panther goals on penalty kicks.

Cherry said IUPUI has speed up top and his team will have to be conscience of protecting the space behind them.

Cherry expects the season-opener to be a really good game, and he said he likes his teams’ chances.

Eastern will have its home opener Sunday at Lakeside Field against Northern Kentucky, who shut out the Panthers last season, 4-0, in Highland Heights, Ky.

Cherry said Northern Kentucky is a very good team.

“They are very athletic and very physical,” he said. “We are going to have to be on top of our game defensively and play really organized and disciplined.”

The Panthers went 0-7-1 before winning their first game against Chicago State last season.

This season, in order to get off on the right foot, teamwork and attitude is needed, according to Hawkins.

“We’ve had a great preseason and the team chemistry is better than ever,” she said. “Everyone is on the same page, and we’ve been training really hard for the upcoming weekend of games. If we just stay focused and keep a positive attitude at all times, I truly believe we can start this season off with some wins and continue that throughout the rest of the season.”

The Panthers will get underway at 6 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis against IUPUI and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Field against Northern Kentucky.


Bob Reynolds can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812