Women’s soccer team ready to bounce back after season-opening loss

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Assistant Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s soccer team gets a shot to even its record as the Panthers hit the road to face Missouri-Kansas City Friday at 7 p.m.

Eastern opened the season unceremoniously, dropping its first match 6-0 against Ball State Aug. 23.

Junior midfielder Haylee Renick said the result of the team’s opening match was not ideal, but it provided plenty to learn from.

“This last week has been all about growing together and learning together,” Renick said. “We can learn from what happened, but we can’t dwell on it.”

Neither side of the ball played at a winning level against the Cardinals, and senior defender Lindsey Carlson said the focus has been on keeping the defense tight.

“Since Ball State, we have worked on being a solid defensive unit, meaning our spacing is appropriate, our runners are tracked, our communication is consistent and our desire to keep a clean sheet is stronger than their desire to score,” Carlson said.

Defense and ball control will be especially vital against the Roos, as Missouri-Kansas City recorded 51 goals in just 21 contests last season compared to Eastern’s 18 goals in 20 contests.

The Roos defense will be another tall task, as the team has not allowed a goal yet this season; senior Erin Roth and sophomore Afton Fennewald combined for nine saves between the Roos’ two matches.

Renick said the challenges on both sides of the ball are everybody’s responsibility.

“It’s definitely going to be a whole team effort to control and keep the ball,” Renick said. “We have to be very technical with our style of play, and last weekend we just couldn’t get to a point of comfortableness on the ball to keep it and use our tactic.”

Missouri-Kansas City holds a 2-0 all-time advantage over Eastern with the most recent win coming in 2015.

The Panthers get another week off after the contest before facing Milwaukee next Friday at 7 p.m.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].