The women’s soccer team finished the weekend with a narrow 2-1 loss against IUPUI, before coming back with a convincing 3-0 victory against Northern Iowa Sunday.
In the first half, the Panthers conceded a penalty after a foul in the box. The Jaguars’ goalkeeper Catherine Schmidt, however, had her spot kick saved by Eastern goalkeeper Sara Teteak.
Sophomore Kayla Stolfa opened the scoring for the Panthers after a lofted through ball from red-shirt junior Emma Scaro set her free for a one-on-one opportunity in which she chipped the keeper moments after charging from her line.
Jaguar Catherine Raster sent a cross in the 59th minute as Tori Minnich stuck the ball with her first touch to beat Teteak, before scoring a late-game winner herself in the 83rd minute, with forward Maryna Clark finding her on the edge of the box.
Women’s coach Kiki Lara cited a slight lack of organization in the defensive, as well as fitness, playing a major role in carrying on their style of play for the full 90 minutes.
Despite the congestive weekend, Lara believes that his roster is deep and mentally sound and locked in for the challenges the players are willing to take on.
“We’ll lean on players that didn’t play a lot today, but we have players that are serious about recovering well, and they have put in the work, and it shows they can play two games in three days,” Lara said.
The Panthers, as of late, have conceded goals in the final 10 minutes or less in three instances — one against Bowling Green, and a two-goal run from Indiana State, with both games having events occur three minutes from the final whistle.
Once the Jaguars scored their first goal, Eastern lost some focus on the field.
“We kind of lost a little bit of organization after the first goal,” Scaro said. “We weren’t complacent, but we weren’t acting like it was 0-0, and that’s the mindset we should have had the whole game. It’s important to keep our attack going forward and our playing identities, which is possession up the field and to bring pressure.”
Two days after their matchup against the Jaguars, the Panthers hosted Northern Iowa in what turned out to be a 3-0 thriller, with Teteak making six saves en route to a clean sheet.
A refined Panthers’ offense was clinical in front of goal, with four shots on target out of the five taken. Despite having far fewer shots than their opponents, with 15 shots taken, efficiency was the deciding factor in the match.
Eastern scored three goals altogether in their prior matchups before facing Northern Iowa.
Stolfa, who scored in the game against IUPUI, turned provider when her cross from the left found senior midfielder Kathleen MacKinnon, who opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
Later in the second half, Northern Iowa conceded a free kick due to a handball. From the spot kick, junior defender Carrie Caplin sent a ball in the box, which found sophomore Kate Olson for a headed goal in the 49th minute.
Seven minutes following Olson’s goal, the Panthers again created chances from the left side of the field. Sophomore Elisabeth Held provided a cross to freshman Sarah DeWolf which put the game out of reach to make it 3-0 in the 56th minute, with a fine finish.
The Panthers’ work on both sides of the ball proved to be vital in their victory against Northern Iowa, especially after losing in what seemed to be a close game against the Jaguars just days before.
Eastern is now 2-5 for the season and will look to continue its rich vein of form as they face off against Marian University Sept. 19 at Lakeside Field in what will be the Panthers’ last game before the Ohio Valley Conference play begins.
Phil Delma can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]