WATERLOO — The University of Northern Iowa women’s soccer team is building confidence, not to mention an impressive record.
The Panthers opened their home season at the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex Friday with a 1-0 shutout of North Dakota State. It was UNI’s fourth straight win to open the season — all by shutout.
Early on, the Panthers put plenty of pressure on the Bison with 12 shots, but they were turned away by an offside infraction that negated a goal, a fabulous save by NDSU’s Julia Eldestein and a crossbar shot by Jenny Wick.
UNI finally broke through with 12 minutes remaining in the contest on its 19th shot of the night, finished by senior forward Sarah Brandt.
“Brynell (Yount) put in a great cross and I have to give her props on that,” said Brandt, who scored her third goal of the season.
“All credit goes to our defense. It makes me want to work harder when I see they’re working their butts off back there to not get scored on and it makes me want to make sure we get goals for them,” added Brandt.
UNI’s back line of defense held NDSU to just four shots on the night.
“We’ve been working hard and we’re halfway to our goal of eight shutouts on the year after just the fourth game,” said senior Marianne Gagne. “We feel confident on and off the ball thanks to our communication and ability to keep the back line together.”
Panther head coach Bruce Erickson believes his team can do better than eight shutouts.
“Eight is our minimum goal,” said Erickson. “When you play with good confidence in your defending, then you start playing to not respond to mistakes but rather to just go relax and play.”
UNI will host Kansas State Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear gold.