The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Panthers topple Skyhawks to remain perfect

The Panthers celebrate their unbeaten season with a win over UT-Martin.

The Panthers continued their historic start to the season, as they defeated UT-Martin 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. The victory extended the program-best unbeaten streak to eight games, and secured the Panthers’ first unbeaten non-conference record in program history. 

Not only did the win mark a historic milestone in UNI history, but it also marked the 50th career victory as a Panther for seventh-year head coach Bruce Erickson. He is the first coach in program history to reach this historic achievement. 

UNI opened the game firing on all cylinders with an early goal in the eighth minute. Olivia Knoepfle was able to control a beautiful pass from Caroline Hazen that split two Skyhawk defenders and gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead. It was Knoepfle’s third goal of the season and her second in consecutive games. 

The Panthers continued their impressive play as Lauren Heinsch doubled the UNI score in the 33rd minute of the game. Heinsch found herself in open space after a pass from Makenzie Orr and took aim at the goal. The ball hit the bottom of the crossbar before dropping in the back of the net to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. 

For the remainder of the first period neither team was able to come up with points on the scoreboard, despite the physical play from both sides. 

Following the break, UT-Martin was able to get their lone score of the game from Jordan Bailey, who fired the ball past Caitlin Richards in the 55th minute of the game. 

The Panthers came down the pitch unphased as they looked to make sure a second-half comeback did not ensue. UNI put the pressure back on the Skyhawks as a crossing pass was able to deflect off of goalie, Andrea Wie, and straight to Maddie Eastus. Eastus was able to shoot the ball into the empty net at the 57 minute mark to give the Panthers a commanding 3-1 lead. The goal notched Eastus’ fourth on the year. 

Not only was it a historical day for the program, but one for the seniors as well. Six seniors were honored as part of festivities for senior night. As a result of the early lead, 21 Panthers were able to play in the game. 

UNI will enter Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play unbeaten for the first time in program history, currently sitting at the top of the conference. Their first conference test will be against Drake on the road on Sunday, Sept. 17 in Des Moines. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.

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