It took two overtime periods, but the Eastern women’s soccer team picked up its first win of the season Friday afternoon against Morehead State, beating the Eagles 1-0.
With a sliding kick in the 105th minute, senior forward Haylee Renick poked the ball past Morehead State goalkeeper Michelle Jerantowski, ending the match and sending the Panthers’ record to 1-1 on the season. Itxaso recorded the assist coming off a corner kick.
It was the first win for the Panthers since their victory in the opening round of the OVC Tournament on Nov. 1, 2019, and their first home victory since Oct. 6 of that year.
Eastern head coach Jake Plant, now in his third season as head coach, said that the first win is always a big one to get.
“Getting the first win is important for the team just in general,” Plant said. “In terms of the performance, I asked the girls to adjust some things from Tuesday’s loss and they did it well, and personally I thought why we had a lot of dominance in the game. So I’m proud of the girls for applying what we asked them to do.”
Although it was a returning player in Renick, who was the team’s second leading scorer last season, that netted the game-winner Friday, the Panthers continued to mix in a lot of new faces early in the season.
For the second-straight match, a majority of the players that saw the field for Eastern are in their first season with the program, being either transfers or freshmen.
Plant said that their transition into the program has been smooth so far, possibly aided by the extended offseason caused by COVID-19.
“When you add 14 new players, it could be a disaster. It just hasn’t been,” he said. “The reason being is because the 10 freshmen that have come in have been open ears, learning quick, applying. And the transfers have some really nice experience coming in. I just think that they’ve done a great job applying what we want. They’re open, they want to win, they want to learn. So that makes the whole process easier, for sure.”
Although not a new player, Eastern goalkeeper and redshirt-sophomore Daniela Bermeo has taken over as the starter in the net this season, taking over for 2019 OVC Defensive Player of the Year and Eastern’s all-time leader in saves Sara Teteak.
Through two matches, Bermeo has made 11 saves and allowed just one goal. She had 3 saves Friday and picked up her first career shutout.
“I think that Daniela has sort of sat behind Teteak for a couple years and bided her time,” Plant said. “When it comes to goalkeepers its always tough, because we don’t rotate keepers in the game, so when somebody stays ready for when they get their moment and they take it, that’s all we can ask. She’s done that really well.”
In addition to her goal, Renick added another shot in the match. Sophomore Zenaya Barnes and Nicoletta Anuci both recorded 2 shots in the match as well, with one shot being on goal for each player.
As a team, Eastern had 10 shots, six of which were on goal. Morehead shot the ball 13 times, four of which were on goal.
Eastern’s next match is scheduled for March 9 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. It will be the second-straight home contest for Eastern and it will start at 2 p.m.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]