Breaking down offensive approach for Eastern women’s soccer team this season


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern junior forward Michaela Danyo pushed passed a defender in a match against Illinois Springfield Aug. 22 at Lakeside Field. Danyo scored a goal in the match, which Eastern won 3-0.

Nick Bays, Women's Soccer Reporter

With the Eastern women’s soccer team heading into a competitive weekend consisting of two matches, they have gotten the season started off on a competitive note with a 1-2-1 record. 

Two weeks in, with four games played, they have shown promise, especially on the offensive end.

In the first four games alone, Eastern is averaging a goal per game, and they are already just one goal shy from tying last season’s total of five goals. 

Eastern played 10 matches last season to hit that five-goal tally versus this year where the goals have come much quicker.

Eastern’s shots per game average and shots on goal percentage are also up from last season. In the 2020 campaign, they averaged 6.8 shots a game but are now averaging eight per game this season.

Their shot accuracy has also improved. Last season, they posted a respectable 42.6 percent shot on goal percentage. This season, however, they have upped that to 43.8. 

With more shots, and more accurate ones, Eastern’s offense is looking to be more prolific this season on the offensive end.

This is no accident, either. 

Eastern have had multiple students that have been coming into their own and showing some impressive offensive ability, including the likes of Zenaya Barnes, Nicoletta Anuci, and Michaela Danyo who have all found the back of the net. 

However, the team as a whole have been impressive to start the season, with Eastern’s midfield showing some set up play through smart passing and creative footwork.

Part of this set up play can be linked to Eastern’s defensive back three, which has been initiating many of the Panther’s possessions this season. 

Head coach Jake Plant has had Eastern begin their methodical attacks by starting with short passes to the defenders who then look for the right passes to the midfielders or forwards, with some strong passes from the back line initiating many fast breaks for Eastern.

Defensively, goalkeeper Faith Davies has had two shut outs in four games, which have proven vital in multiple of Eastern’s contests. This has made offense frustrating for some of Eastern’s opponents who then have to prepare for the counterattack.

Heading into this weekend, they will need that offensive creativity to come through as they look to get some important points this weekend. 

They face Chicago State Friday and Cincinnati on Sunday. This is an important game for Chicago State, which is looking for its first win of the season and will surely be giving Eastern everything it’s got. 

Cincinnati is looking to continue its good start to the season, already getting two wins in their first four games.


Nick Bays can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].