Eastern women’s soccer team gearing up for OVC play

Tyler Mccluskey, Women's Soccer Reporter

Junior midfielder Madi Fisher advances the ball during a match against Indiana State on Sunday. The Panthers lost to the Sycamores 0-2 to bring seasn record to 1-4.
Bryan Bund
Junior midfielder Madi Fisher advances the ball during a match against Indiana State on Sunday. The Panthers lost to the Sycamores 0-2 to bring seasn record to 1-4.

The women’s soccer team (1-4) has gotten off to a slow start this season with two of the Panthers losses coming in the final two minutes of the match.

Despite the slow start, women’s soccer coach Kiki Lara said that he has seen the team grow so far from the beginning and they are steadily improving.

“I think the major areas of improvement are tactically,” Lara said. “Getting a better understanding of who we want to be tactically and executing that on a daily basis.”

Other than the technical aspect of the sport, Lara said that there is also the mental awareness along with the physical side of conditioning.

“Combining those three things in every practice and making sure we make gains in those areas, so that we are actually improving over the course of the season,” Lara said.

With the two matches where the Panthers lost in the final two minutes of the match against Indiana State and in the season opener against Bowling Green, Lara said that it is not something that the team wants to affect the development.

“I would say that there is a trend in some of that because I think physically, we are asking a lot out of our players in the first 30 to 40 minutes and then I don’t know if they can sustain the same amount of physical requirements for 90 minutes,” Lara said. “We’re getting there but that is going to take some more time to be able to hit our playing identity for a longer period of time.”

The Panthers have three remaining non-conference matches before Ohio Valley Conference play begins. Lara said that the matches leading up to conference play were good for the team and allowed them to prepare for the Ohio Valley Conference. Adding the improvements became noticeable last weekend.

“I think being able to find ways to be successful for long periods of the game that’s helping us,” Lara said. “That’s probably where I have seen the most improvement last weekend. Being able to sustain our playing identity for longer periods of time and hopefully by OVC play, we’ll be in a better position to compete and we’ll win some games.”

OVC roundup

Sitting atop the OVC standings is Southeast Missouri with a 4-0-1 record. The Redhawks ended their last match against Evansville in a 0-0 tie. Leading the team in goals is senior midfielder Natasha Minor. The Redhawks have only given up one goal so far this season. That goal was given up against the University of Illinois-Springfield on August 21. Junior goalkeeper Kindra Lierz has recorded four shutouts and has saved 16 shots, good for a 94.1 save percentage and an OVC goalkeeper of the week honor for the week of Aug. 28.

Eastern Kentucky is currently on a three-game winning streak. The Colonels (3-2) started the season losing the first two matches. The Colonels also have four players with two goals.

Sophomore midfielder from University of Tennessee-Martin Danae Kaldaridou won offensive player of the week. Kaldaridou nabbed her first two career goals against Troy. Kaldaridou scored her first goal with six minutes left in the match on a free kick. She scored once again four minutes later on a corner kick.

Belmont senior Brittany Coca and Morehead State’s senior Angela Black were named OVC co-defensive players of the week. Black played 220 minutes in the Eagles back-to-back double overtime matches. Black only had two shots, but both were on goal and contributed to one of those double overtime shutouts. Coca scored her first career goal in the 21st minute for the Bruins against Middle Tennessee.

Tyler Mccluskey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]