Women’s soccer team picks up 1st win

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Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern midfielder Nicoletta Anuci gets behind the opposing goalkeeper to score her second goal of the match against Illinois Springfield on Sunday at Lakeside Field. The Panthers beat the Prairie Stars 3-0 to pick up their first win of the season.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

A trio of first-half goals proved to be plenty for the Eastern women’s soccer team Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 win over Illinois Springfield. 

It was the Panthers’ first win of the season after losing their season opener to Indiana State 3-1 on Aug. 19.

Junior midfielder Nicoletta Anuci netted two goals in the match, opening the scoring in the 10th minute and closing it in the 21st, with junior forward Michaela Danyo adding a goal in between. 

The Prairie Stars had chances to get back into the match, but redshirt junior goalkeeper Faith Davies made 7 saves and picked up her first career shutout. 

Anuci said she was happy to get back on the field and make an impact after feeling like she missed chances in the loss against Indiana State.

“Especially coming off Thursday, missing some really important opportunities, I just worked extremely hard this season and I knew to get the goals today I had to be calm and collected under pressure, and just play my game,” she said. 

Anuci has already tied her scoring total from last season, when she was tied for the team lead with 2 goals. 

Davies started the final four matches last season before beginning this season as the starter. She credited the other two goalkeepers on the roster, Daniela Bermeo and Lexi Prusow, for helping her improve and earn the shutout. 

“I’m really proud of it,” she said. “As goalies we have a really good unit, us three. We all have worked really hard and they are a big part of this too.”

Both Anuci and Davies said they were happy to go out and get the season’s first win.

“I just think we’re all super proud to get the win as a team, especially because we’ve been working extremely hard,” Anuci said. 

Head coach Jake Plant, now in his fourth year leading the program, said he thinks that getting the first win under their belts is a good thing for the team to get out of the way early. 

“The first win, it’s the hardest one sometimes,” he said. “It’s nice. The girls enjoyed it. They deserve it. They earned it.”

Plant said he was pleased with the team’s performance overall, though he thought they may have performed better earlier in the match. 

“I think the first half was a little closer to what we wanted to get to,” he said. “The second half, I would argue they took their foot off the gas a little, but they still did certain things that we like, so we’ve just got to pull that into a 90-minute performance. But 3-0, can’t complain.”

Illinois Springfield did outshoot the Panthers 8-6 in the second half, but was of course unable to score. 

Eastern will continue the season on the road Aug. 27 against Purdue Fort Wayne.  

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]