Women’s soccer falls to Coyotes


File Photo

Madeline Edwards dribbles the ball down field.

Michael Harms , Courier Staff

MACOMB, Ill. — The Western Illinois University women’s soccer team couldn’t capitalize on the one game home stand this weekend. Losing to the University of South Dakota on Sunday by a score of 1-2.

This drops Western to last place in The Summit League standings with a record of 2-10-1 overall and 0-4 in league, whereas the Coyotes climb to fifth with an overall record of 7-4-2 and a league record of 2-1.

Coming into the game, the Leathernecks knew they needed to change something up, so director of soccer Eric Johnson decided to do some major surgery to the starting lineup. First, he changed his lineup at the striker position starting senior forwardd Madeline Edwards. She has only started two other games this year.

Then, Johnson decided to change up his midfield and replace sophomore forward Bridget Schuler with senior midfielder Emma Keckeisen. Keckeisen has only seen action in six games this year, but this game was her first start for the season. However, the biggest change Johnson made was the last player back.

Johnson took out junior goalkeeper Ines Herrera-Palmeiro and started freshman Birgitta Sol Eggertsdottir. Herrera is at the top of the summit league with 73 saves on the season and is known for her skill. The replacement is a freshman from Iceland who is coming in after Palmiero-Herrera let in five goals on eleven shots on goal in the previous matchup.

At first the changes seemed to have been a mistake as the Coyotes recorded seven shots in the first 20 minutes, but the game soon turned around. Senior defender Lily Butler created some space in the 21st minute of the game and found Edwards in space who turned and fired a rocket into the bottom left corner.

The out-of-the-box-shot is the first goal of the season for Edwards and the first of the game to give the Purple and Gold their first lead of the game. The team defended decently for the rest of the period only allowing six more shot attempts. With four corner attempts and 13 shots the Coyotes believed they had the upper hand, but they simply hadn’t capitalized on their opportunities.

That all changed fifteen minutes into the second half when freshman Tiannah Moore passed into the box to the feet of Taryn Labree who found the back of the net for the equalizer. Her fifth goal of the year, the Colorado Springs native is tied for fifth most goals in The Summit League.

The Coyotes took advantage of a deep roster of 31 players to Western’s 26 and made over 20 substitutions in this matchup. Johnson only made 12. As the game was winding down, USD continued to put pressure on the Leathernecks backline, shooting eleven more shots towards goal.

In the 80th minute, that pressure paid off as Moore, once again, had a dime of a pass junior forward Kellee Willer who scored her third goal of the season and took the lead for the Coyotes. That was the last goal of the game as the Coyotes captured the win in enemy territory.

Western is looking for answers. Coach Johnson continues to tinker with the lineup and formation while the players continue to search for motivation and a positive mood in the locker room.

With six straight losses and time running out on this season, they must come together to fix some issues to have a hope of making a post season appearance this year.

Luckily, the Leathernecks have a break from Summit League play as they travel out of state to play University of Northern Iowa Tuesday afternoon.