Soccer set to bounce back


File Photo

Emily Bollman midstride in a gameagainst Northern Illinois University.

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

MACOMB, Ill. – The Western Illinois women’s soccer team will take the field twice this weekend, beginning with their match tonight against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers. They’ll finish their four-game home stand this Sunday afternoon against the Ball State University Cardinals.

The Leathernecks are currently 1-3 heading into these matchups and are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Louisiana Tech University. Western scored first early on in the 10th minute with a goal coming from junior forward, Emily Bollman. It was a scramble right outside of the 18-yard box, and the ball fell to Bollman’s feet as she one-timed it into the upper corner of the net.

The Leathernecks held that lead to halftime against a very good LA Tech side and believed they could finish the game out for the win. That was not the case however, as the Techsters came out strong in the second half and grabbed an equalizer in the 47th minute. The goal rattled Western and it was all downhill from there. LA Tech would eventually put two more in the back of the net and go on to win 3-1. Western was outshot 21-8 that game.

They’ll head up against one of their toughest competitors in UWM tonight, as Western tries to bounce back and gain their second season win. It won’t be easy, going up against the reigning three-time Horizon League champions, as they are currently undefeated on the season at 4-0.

Last time out, the Panthers took down the Depaul University Blue Demons 2-1. UWM has scored nine goals in their first four games, posting two 3-0 shutouts along the way against the Northern Illinois University Huskies and the Eastern Illinois University Panthers; two of Western’s biggest rivals.

After battling against UWM, Western will have to take on BSU in one day’s time. The Cardinals are also off to a great start, sitting at 3-1 on the season, kicking things off with a five-game road trip.

Last time out, they played a weather shortened match, but led Charleston Southern University 2-0 before the contest was cancelled due to lightning and incoming storms.

The Cardinals have posted two shutouts as well, 3-0 and 1-0. They’ve scored eight goals in four and a half games time and look like a force to reckoned with this season.

Both of these teams have been great so far, defensively as well as offensively. Last season, Western lost to both of these teams 3-0 on the road. This time around, Western will have home field advantage as they try to upset these teams from last year.

Western still knows their downfalls, one of them being their defensive composure. Last time out, the Leathernecks took an early lead but couldn’t figure it out defensively to shut down LA Tech. Both of these incoming teams are expecting to walk all over Western like they did last season. The Leathernecks need to go out strong like they did last time out, but this time around, play the required defense to finish the game out and get the win.

Obviously to win games you need to score goals as well, which has been Western’s other key issue. Their midfield is solid, and will be for years to come, but at the moment, their forwards are in a bit of a slump. Whether that be a communication issue in midfield, or an attacking problem, they’ll need to figure it out if they expect to play against these teams.

Western will kick things off at 5 p.m. tonight against Milwaukee and 1 p.m. Sunday against the Cardinals. Expect both of these games to be played on the practice field due to the tremendous rainfall over the past couple of days.