With quick ball movement and speed, the Loyola women’s soccer team (6-2-1, 2-0-0) won over the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) 3-0 in a physical game at Loyola Soccer Park Sept. 25. This Alumni Night win marks Loyola’s fifth shutout of the fall 2021 regular season.
The Ramblers struggled early on to clear the ball down the field to allow for opportunities to score. Just as Northern Iowa’s defense began to tighten, the Ramblers found the open field to set up junior midfielder Megan Nemec in the 16th minute, giving Loyola a 1-0 lead.
Loyola head coach Barry Bimbi was satisfied with the team’s quick start to the game which allowed for an early goal. He said he was fortunate to see a quick turnaround despite previously having slower starts this season.
“We played on our front foot a little bit,” Bimbi said. “We came out slow against Indiana State, so it was our focus all week to get [UNI] on their heels and we did that.”
The first goal paved the way for more scoring chances as Loyola proceeded to find the back of the net once more before halftime. With the clock ticking down late in the first half, junior defender Megan Demski fired a corner kick right to fellow junior defender Olivia Knab, who proceeded to head it in for the second goal.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to shoot this ball,’ and there it sailed into the back of the net,” Knab said.
The Ramblers were able to start off the second half quickly as well, putting up another point in the 56th minute. Megan Nemec was able to fire a pass down the field once more and allow first-year midfielder Taylor Harrison to slip through the Panther defense and get Loyola to 3-0.
Northern Iowa failed to put the ball in Loyola’s territory and the final buzzer marked Loyola’s second consecutive MVC win.
In total, Loyola managed to outshoot the Panthers 17-3, also tallying seven shots on goal compared to zero from the visitors. Bimbi said the Ramblers’ confidence in themselves and their playing abilities keeps them working hard for these wins.
“We always focus on us,” Bimbi said. “We are a confident group, we’re going to be challenged, we’re going to be tested and we know that if we continue to get better every week, we will put ourselves in a good position.”
Loyola will travel to Evansville, Indiana Sept. 29 to face off against the University of Evansville. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game is set to broadcast on ESPN+.