Panthers stay alive, win in penalty kicks


After sneaking past Belmont in overtime, 1-0, to begin play in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, the UNI Panthers were looking to stay alive this past Sunday, Oct. 30. It was a tall task for UNI, trying to go on the road and take down third-seeded UIC at Flames Field in Chicago. The teams met up earlier in the season and ended in a scoreless tie. This match would not stay scoreless, but it would end regulation and overtime in a tie, causing penalty kicks to be used in order to decide a winner.

Both teams traded shots in the opening minutes, with the first shot on goal being credited to UIC’s Kaitlyn Montague in the 15th minute. However, it was saved by Panther goalkeeper Caitlin Richards. It would be quite a while before another shot would require a save. In the 37th minute, Richards made her second save of the match, stopping a shot from Sophia Jamie. This would be the final shot on goal of the opening 45 minutes, and the teams went to the half scoreless.

In the second half, Sophia Meier quickly got a shot on goal, causing Lauren Keiser to make a save in the 49th minute. The first goal of the match came in the 61st minute when Allison Whitaker scored her third goal of the season off of an assist from Ashley Harrington, giving UNI a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Panthers would be able to hang on to this lead, but in the 84th minute, Frankie Frericks scored thanks to an assist from Megan Bowman, tying the score at 1-1, which is how the match would stay through the full 90 minutes of regulation.

Next up were the two overtime periods, each 10 minutes in length. The Panthers had a few scares as Richards had to make three saves, but neither team could score a goal, and the match went to penalty kicks.

UNI went first in the shootout and Lauren Heinsch put her shot attempt in the net. On UIC’s first attempt, Bowman’s shot was saved by Richards. After both teams traded goals, Lizzie Mewes made UNI’s fourth goal in as many attempts, putting all the pressure on UIC’s Yulexi Diaz. Her shot was saved, and UNI got the shootout win, 4-2.

With the win, UNI improves to 6-5-8 on the season. They will now travel to Valparaiso, Ind. for a semifinal matchup with second-seeded Missouri State on Thursday. The match will be available for streaming on ESPN+.