Women’s soccer starts Summit League play

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Women’s soccer starts Summit League play

Emily Bollman sprints alongside an opponent at a home game.

Emily Bollman sprints alongside an opponent at a home game.

File Photo

Emily Bollman sprints alongside an opponent at a home game.

File Photo

File Photo

Emily Bollman sprints alongside an opponent at a home game.

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

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MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois women’s soccer team will open up their Summit League play this weekend against the North Dakota State University Bison and the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits.

The Leathernecks are currently 2-6-1, having wins against Northern Illinois University and Chicago State University, 2-1 and 5-3 respectively. They are currently on a two-game losing streak, falling to the Drake University Bulldogs 2-1 and the Illinois State University Redbirds 4-1.

The one goal in the ISU game came from freshman defender Zoe Clarke who fired a shot from about 35 yards out that sailed right over the keeper’s head. Junior goalie Ines Palmiero recorded eight saves for the Leathernecks that game.

Nine games into the season, and the team has only won two of them. CSU was Western’s only multi-goal game and they were shut out twice before that. Needless to say, offense is a problem.

Junior forward Emily Bollman scored in four straight games but hasn’t scored since CSU. She is still the team’s leading goal scorer with four but will need to be more dependable going forward.

Leading goal scorer from last year, junior Bianca Romay has been unsteady throughout, only tallying two goals on the season, one of them against CSU.

Whether this lack of offense is a communication issue or a messy midfield, something will have to change going on to play against teams that actually matter.

“This weekend marks the beginning of a new chapter for us,” assistant coach Josee Primeau said. “The past nine games are exactly that, the past.”

That’s the kind of mentality Western will have to have if they expect to win against any of these upcoming opponents. Their first nine games were all leading up to these ones.

Head coach Eric Johnson has always set his schedules up like this, playing non-conference games first, leading the team up to Summit League action.

The Bison are coming off of a 2-0 loss that brought their record down to 3-4. Leading their team in scoring is junior Mariah Haberle, who has three on the season. She also tallies two assists, leading her team with eight points.

Helping her out is senior Roxy Roemer, who has four assists on the season.

While the Bison have scored nine goals in seven games, they have also been shutout four times along the way. They have been flaky and haven’t really been able to put together a string of great results.

The Jackrabbits on the other hand, are sitting comfortably at 5-4-1. It could be better, but at least it’s a positive record. Last time out they tied the University of Eastern Washington 0-0. They have been shutout five times, but offense doesn’t seem to be a problem as they’ve scored 14 goals in 10 games.

Aside from the statistics, Western can absolutely beat both of these teams. They failed to do so last year losing 2-0 to NDSU and 3-0 to SDSU but if there is a time to rebound, then that time is now. Both of those loses last year were at home, so the Leathernecks will surely come out with a chip on their shoulder for these two matchups.

It’s going to be a tough road for Western to get back to the Summit League tournament, but it is their hands now. They made it last season but went out in the first round to the University of Denver-Colorado.

“With nine teams fighting for four post-season spots, getting results at home becomes extremely important. We’d like to come out of this weekend in a good spot to continue our push to be playing soccer in November,” Primeau said.

Getting two good results would be a step in the right direction but will also be an uphill battle. The Leathernecks kickoff a jam-packed homecoming weekend today at 3 p.m. on John Mackenzie Filed against the Bison.

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