WATERLOO — The University of Northern Iowa women’s soccer team got off to a great start three days ago with a 4-0 exhibition victory at Eastern Illinois.

Wednesday at home, the Panthers got a lot of the wind they had gathered in that convincing victory knocked out of their sails, and head coach Bruce Erickson said that was a good thing.

Iowa State scored three times in an eight-minute stretch late in the first half en route to a 4-0 victory over UNI in an exhibition game at the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex to conclude the Panthers’ preseason slate.

“The overwhelming thought is we have a long way to go,” Erickson said. “I don’t know that the game told me anything I didn’t know. I probably was disappointed not in conceding four goals, but how we conceded them.”

With the wind at its back, UNI controlled or held the ball in its own attacking zone for much of the first half and had the better play. But six minutes after goalkeeper Anna Kaiser made an incredible one-on-one save to keep the game scoreless, the Cyclones, in their first action of the season, got a break.

Kenaday Adams won a bouncing, 50-50 ball from a Panther defender just outside of the box and she broke in on Kaiser and lifted a hard shot up and over the keeper for a 2-0 lead in the 28th minute. That seemed to open the flood gates.

Claudia Najera scored in the 34th minute when Kaiser had a shot spin out of her gloves and right to Najera, who scored into an empty net. Then just two minutes later in the 36th minute, Eva Steckelberg headed home a corner kick off the foot of Mira Emma.

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The Cyclones eventually outshot the Panthers, 17-3.

Johnnie Hill, who had a hat trick in UNI’s exhibition opener, Genevieve Cruz and Peyton Larason were credited with the Panthers’ shots on goal.

“We gave up one and just didn’t respond,” Erickson said. “Goals change games and if we respond there and say we are just going to give up one then our mentality might have been different. But one turned into three in a matter of eight minutes.

“We have a lot of growing up to do. But if I could have five of these, if we’re going to get better, I’ll take our punches because we are going to learn from them. We won 4-0 against Eastern and lost 4-0 here, and we will be better because of this.

“I’d rather play this and get exposed and then have to deal with it.”

Mira Emma capped the scoring in the 62nd minute, heading home a cross.

UNI is now off until Sunday, Aug. 22 when it hosts Chicago State in its regular-season opener.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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