Women’s soccer loses 1-0 to Fort Wayne in home opener


Tom O’Connor | The Daily Eastern News Lexi Ketterhagen sprints after the ball as a defender closes in on her to steal to the ball away. Eastern lost its home-opener 1-0 to Fort Wayne Sunday at Lakeside Field.

Tom O'Connor, Women's Soccer Reporter

Upon completion of the first half, when the teams traded fouls and free kicks, Eastern played the second half on the terms of its opponent.

Fort Wayne leveled its attack on the Panthers’ defense with no repercussions.

It was this burden incurred by the Eastern defense that opened up the game for the Mastodons in the second half on Breanna Buche’s header off a free kick, ushering in a 1-0 defeat for the Panthers and extending their losing streak to four games.

From what Eastern head coach Jake Plant could see on the Eastern bench, the defense was quite well positioned for the free kick, which ultimately ended with the ball in the corner of the net, without any indication of error on their part.

“I will still have to look at video there, as I looked at it I didn’t think we defended it in a poor way,” Plant said. “I just think that when it comes down to those situations its one player against another and who can best the other. And we were bested in that moment.”

As the Panthers came into the second half, compromised by the relative shortage of chances on the attack, the defense was forced to withstand the palpable pressure unleashed by Fort Wayne forward Kayla Wisniewski and midfielder Tara Brodbine without much-needed relief. 

For the entirety of the first half, and even much of the second, Eastern defenders seam lessly pushed back on the blows they took from a spate of shots on goal.

“If we put the ball in the back of the net, one goal or even two goals, it’s a different game,” Plant said. “It’s just a matter of playing the way we do, build out of the back and create more opportunities, we’ll have a lot more space to go there.”

The Mastodons amplified the degree to which they stormed the Panthers in the penalty area, doubling the number of shots on goal from the first half to the second.

After Buche capped the free kick with the game-winning goal, freshman Morgan Reitano nearly cushioned the lead with a header of her own; however, the shot was rather high and off-target.

Freshman Nicoletta Anuci had a chance to bail out the Panthers when she curled her foot to the right as she aimed toward the goal, but the ball lacked the momentum and angle to meander past the goalkeeper who, stationed at the center of the goal line, did not need to shuffle away from her post as she secured the ball.

“I thought that the first half was good and we have to build on the second half, which we didn’t,” Plant said. “We weren’t able to get into our rhythm to get any goal scoring opportunities.”

Plant continued: “So, other than the goal that was conceded, I thought it was a good performance that may have been just sort of tarnished by our inability to build upon the first half-our second half was very incomplete. We have to fix that by next week.”

Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]