The UNI women’s soccer team celebrated Alumni Day this past Saturday as they hosted Illinois State in the second game of the conference-only portion of their schedule. After the previous week’s devastating loss to Loyola, the Panthers were able to jump back into the winning column with a strong 2-1 victory over the Redbirds.
UNI wasted no time getting their offense going as Lily Caso nearly scored in the first minute of the game. Her shot from the right edge of the box sailed just past the net. That confidence became infectious, with Ashley Harrington and Lauren Heinsch having attempts on goal in the next 15 minutes. Redbird goalkeeper Priya Gillan put a stop to the Panther attack, saving Heinsch’s attempt and blocking a corner kick header near the end of the first half.
Not to be deterred, the Panthers opened the second half with the same fiery energy from the first. This time, their effort was rewarded with a goal as Heinsch was able to slot one past Gillan, giving UNI a 1-0 advantage in the 48th minute. Harrington assisted on that goal. Heinsch almost struck gold twice as her next attempt was blocked by Gillan in a bang-bang play.
The Redbirds were able to equalize just fifteen minutes later with a goal by Hailey Glover.
With only ten minutes left, Harrington attempted a free-kick, which Gillan dove to save. Caso attempted another shot on goal just before the end of regulation, but it went just above the net.
Just as overtime began, goalkeeper Caitlin Richards was called upon to make a jumping save against a Redbird attack.
On her third attempt of the day, Caso buried her shot into the left side of the net in the 93rd minute, winning the game with a golden goal. Caso’s final shot was a part of the four shots on goal that the Panthers had on the day.
The win brings UNI’s conference record to 1-1, and an overall record of 4-7-1. The team will stay in Cedar Falls as they host the Sycamores of Indiana State on Saturday, Oct. 9. Game time will be 1 p.m. at the UNI Soccer Field.