With Ohio Valley Conference opponents already showing dominance early in the season, this weekend could be vital for Eastern’s women’s soccer team to get some wins to put themselves in a better spot in the OVC.
The Panthers are currently tied for seventh in OVC standings, behind conference opponents who are either undefeated or have fewer losses so far.
Eastern travels to Valparaiso Friday for a 7:30 p.m. match.
Valpo has showed tough defense in their matches so far this season, only allowing two goals, both of which have come in 1-0 losses.
The losses came against Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic, both games on the road.
Valpo junior goalie Drew Moulton has faced a relatively small amount of shots so far, making seven saves in the team’s wins. Freshman goalie Kezia Gesell made one save in her two starts in the team’s two losses. In total, the two have faced 10 shots on goal.
The Crusaders present Eastern a challenge, as they are undefeated at home thus far in the short season, defeating Grace College 3-0 and defeating IUPUI 2-0, just as the Panthers did against IUPUI.
Valpo has had four players score in the season so far, led by junior Sydney Griffin who leads the team with two, scoring against both Grace and IUPUI.
The key for Eastern in the game will be to get shots on goal because both Valpo goalies have not made many saves.
Defensively, the Panthers will have to contain the Valpo offense, who has fired off 75 shots in the four games played, 33 of which were on goal.
After Friday’s test against the high-powered Valpo team, the Panthers will get to come back to Charleston and host the Chicago State Cougars at Lakeside Field.
The matchup, now set for noon, being changed from the original 1 p.m. starting time, will be the Panthers’ third home game this season.
So far, Eastern is 1-1 at home, and Chicago State is 1-3 overall and 1-1 for away games.
Not much has been shown from the Cougars offensively, scoring one goal in a 1-0 victory, senior Sara Marcotte giving Chicago State the victory.
Three different Cougar goalies have made 27 saves in four games, while facing 89 shots total in that span.
The matchup against the Cougars favors Eastern more than the Panther’s match Friday does.
With sophomore forward Sarah DeWolf, the Panthers’ leading scorer, and freshman forward Pilar Barrio, who has one goal this season, leading the offense, Eastern should get enough shots off against the already challenged CSU goalies.
The weekend will present Eastern with two very different opponents, and to continue the success the team has already had, two wins, a win and a tie or even two ties would keep the momentum going.
Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]