Women’s soccer shows defensive play skills

Elias Albert, Staff Reporter

Freshman Elisabeth Held fends off Tennessee Tech's Mayra Tarraga Manzanal during the Panthers' 1-0 win on Friday at Lakeside Field.
Jason Howell
Freshman Elisabeth Held fends off Tennessee Tech’s Mayra Tarraga Manzanal during the Panthers’ 1-0 win on Friday at Lakeside Field.

Eastern went 1-1 over the weekend following a 1-0 win over Tennessee Tech on Friday and a 1-0 double-overtime loss to Morehead State on Sunday.

They have remained competitive, and even won, against Jacksonville State, Tennessee Tech and Morehead State that sit at fourth, second and third in the Ohio Valley Conference, respectively.

One factor that was evident over the weekend set of games was defensive play.

Going back to the Panthers’ scoreless draw with Jacksonville State, Eastern went over 280-straight minutes without allowing a single goal. This was by far their best stretch of defensive play so far this season.

This has resulted in a 1-1-1 record with all games being against OVC competition.

Over the recent three-game stretch, goalkeeper Maddie Lyon faced 47 shots but still managed to successfully defend her net.

“She’s been great for us at goalkeeper,” Cherry said. “She’s kept us in these games, and we’ve rallied around her effort.”

The lone goal that she allowed was at the tail-end of the game against Morehead State off a penalty kick, despite it being given on what coach Jason Cherry said was a questionable foul.

Lyon saved 20 of the 21 shots on goal that she faced for a save rate of 95 percent.

Cherry said that his defensive production was also a result of the high-energy play that they exerted.

It may also be in relation to the fact that Eastern has been disciplined as of late. The Panthers were not given a single booking in their last three games and were not called for any significant fouls outside of the late call against Morehead State.

Offensively, production seemed to be on the horizon, but Eastern could not take advantage of enough scoring opportunities.

In their last three games, they have only managed to record one goal, which came from midfielder Ali Carlson in the first half of the game against Tennessee Tech.

Key pieces, like forward Molly Hawkins, forward Hannah Miller and forward Kathleen MacKinnon, among others have been kept in check as of late.

“We have been creating and earning chances,” Cherry said. “The key is turning those chances into goals and I feel that once we do that, we’ll start winning more often.”

Despite a letdown against Morehead State, Eastern still has plenty of chances to pick up wins within OVC play.

All three of their previous three games were at home and they will host Eastern Kentucky in their next game, on Friday, before heading back on the road to play Austin Peay.

Eastern’s recent stretch of home games have proven to be beneficial.

“We like playing at home,” Cherry said. “It gives a chance to play in front of our house, but I think it more than anything gives us an easier routine and there’s no travelling.”

At home this season, Eastern is 3-3-1 compared to being winless on the road.


Elias Albert can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]