WATERLOO, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa women's soccer team opened the season on Friday night with a 5-0 victory over the University of North Dakota. The Panthers were led by sophomore Charlotte Jones who scored two goals and chipped in with an assist to help the Panthers tie their best winning-margin in program history.
"To get off to a winning start can be a big deal" said head coach James Price. "It was a good start. We have been waiting all week to see our team play and they have done really well in practice so it was good to see them firing on all cylinders in the first half like that."
The scoring started in the 10th minute when Jones hit a crossing pass to senior Melissa Hagan who buried it in the back of the net. Just six minutes later sophomore Shauna Happel passed ahead to fellow sophomore Caitlyn Fuller who beat the Fighting Sioux goalkeeper for the score.
UNI added a goal in the 25th minute by Jones, assisted by Hagan, to push the score to three to zero. The Panthers closed the first half by scoring for a fourth time in the 36th minute when sophomore Katherine Young hit a corner kick that junior Allie Brees headed in for the goal.
UNI closed the scoring in the 89th minute when Jones got ahead of the North Dakota defense and received a pass from sophomore Madisen Garman and beat the keeper for the score.
"Charlotte has been playing really well so we're not surprised by that" said Price. "In practice she has been banging in the goals and it's nice for her to get some confidence. She prides herself on confidence and when things are going well she is really buzzing so I'm pleased with that."
The Panthers outshot the Fighting Sioux 18 to seven, including 10 Panther shots on goal compared to just three from North Dakota. UNI also held the advantage in corner kicks, eight to two.
Junior goalkeeper Erin Zaideman started between the posts for the Panthers and kept the match scoreless into the break. Zaideman was replaced by junior goalkeeper Nicole Postel who turned away three North Dakota shots and secured the shutout.
Jones led the offensive attack with two goals and an assist with three of her six shots coming on goal but there were contributions from everywhere on the roster. Hagan added a goal and an assist with both of her shots coming on goal, Fuller added a goal, Young added two shots on goal with an assist, Brees tallied a goal, and Happel added two shots with one on goal.
Senior Kiki McClellan added two shots, and fellow seniors Kelsey Dolder and Ashley Capone chipped in with one shot apiece.
Jones said the start was something the team needs to continue to do. "I think it is a really, really, good thing we need to do every game because teams get so put off and lose their cool and once we set the tempo they find it hard to come back."
The Panthers will hit the road for their next contest at Western Illinois University on Sun., Aug. 19. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
On the next matchup with Western Illinois: "We will take confidence. Self-belief and confidence. We're not going to get carried away, it was only the first game of the season and there will be a lot of situations we have to overcome but it is nice to get a first win under your belt" said Price.