25 Aug Road Tests Await EIU Women’s Soccer
Eastern Illinois (1-1) at Purdue Fort Wayne (1-0-1)
Friday, August 27
2 pm at Fort Wayne, Ind.
Eastern Illinois at Wisconsin (2-0)
Sunday, August 29
1 pm at Madison, Wis.
Watch on Big Ten Plus | Live Stats
ON-TAP: Eastern Illinois hits the road for the first time during the regular season as the Panthers travel to Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday and Wisconsin on Sunday. EIU opened the season with a 1-1 record falling to Indiana State in the opener before beating Illinois Springfield 3-0 on Sunday. It marked the second straight season that EIU opened played with a 1-1 record. Purdue Fort Wayne enters the season at 1-0-1 including a win over OVC member Morehead State. Wisconsin is 2-0 on the season and will host Notre Dame on Thursday before entertaining EIU.
ANUCI WITH A BRACE VS. UIS: Nicoletta Anuci scored a pair of goals on Sunday during the Panthers 3-0 win over Illinois Springfield. The two goals matched the forward’s goal total for all of last season. The last player to score two or more goals in a match was Itxaso Aguero in last season’s 3-2 win over Jacksonville State. Anuci added a goal in the Panthers season opener against Indiana State as she currently ranks second in the OVC in total points with five.
BARNES WITH PANTHERS FIRST GOAL: Zenaya Barnes scored the first goal of the season for the EIU women’s soccer team as the connected for a goal in the second half of the opener against Indiana State. Barnes is in her second year on the EIU team having played in nine matches during the spring. Barnes began her collegiate career at Grambling State scoring three goals as a freshman in 2019. Barnes added an assist during Sunday’s win over Illinois Springfield.
DANYO GETS ON THE BOARD: Michaela Danyo closed out the scoring for the Panthers on Sunday with a goal midway through the first half. Danyo is also a transfer from Grambling State having scored two goals during the 2019 season with the Tigers. In spring 2021 action at EIU she appeared in nine matches. Danyo scored four goals during the Panthers exhibition win over Parkland College while assisting on EIU’s goal in exhibition action at IUPUI.
FIFTH YEAR LEADERS: Eastern Illinois had three players take advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19 impacting the fall season in 2020. EIU returns fifth year players Itxaso Aguero, Pilar Barrio and Eva Munoz. All three players who are originally from Spain will be returning after starting matches in each of the previous four seasons.
DAVIES WITH A SHUTOUT IN GOAL: Goalkeeper Faith Davies posted a shutout in the net on Sunday as she finished with a clean sheet against Illinois Springfield. It was the first career shutout for Davies. EIU’s last shutout in goal was by Daniela Bermeo when the Panthers beat Morehead State in the spring 1-0 in overtime. Davies has a 1.50 goals against average this season in two starts.
BALCEREK LISTED AS OVC PLAYER TO WATCH: Midfielder Kenzie Balcerek was named the EIU Player to Watch in the OVC this year as she returns for her third year as a starter on the squad. Balcerek played all but six minutes on the pitch last spring finishing with one assist. As a freshman in 2019 she started the first 11 matches of the season registering one assist before a season ending injury.
THREE A MAGIC NUMBER: Eastern Illinois scored three goals on Sunday during its win over Illinois Springfield as the Panthers evened their record at 1-1 on the season. It was the sixth time in the last four seasons that EIU has scored three goals in a match, the Panthers posting a 6-0 record in those contests. EIU’s last three goal match was last spring with a 3-2 win over Jacksonville State on March 30.
SERIES HISTORY: Eastern Illinois and Purdue Fort Wayne will be meeting for the sixth time on Friday as the Panthers hold a slight 3-2 all-time series lead. The Mastodons won the last match-up between the schools 1-0 during the 2019 season. This will be the second meeting between Wisconsin and EIU. The Badgers won the only other meeting 3-0 during the 1996 season.
NEXT UP: Eastern Illinois returns home on Friday, Sept. 3 to host Chicago State as the Panthers will play a second straight weekend of Friday/Sunday matches. On Sunday, Sept. 5, the Panthers travel to Cincinnati.
HEAD COACH: Jake Plant enters his fourth season as the head coach of the Eastern Illinois women’s soccer team. A 2014 EIU alumnus and former member of the Panthers men’s soccer program, Plant was the assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s program for two years with one additional season as an assistant for the men’s program before being named EIU women’s head coach in 2018. Plant led EIU to a 6-8-6 record in his first season including a 4-3-3 record in OVC play. In 2019, he once again took EIU to the OVC Tournament winning a first-round match. He enters his fourth season with a record of 12-25-11 with an 8-15-7 record in OVC matches. He is a native of Birmingham, England. He is assisted by Dirk Bennett.
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