Panthers trampled by Broncos, lose 1-0

FIU Women's SoccerFIU Women's Soccer

IMG_3778 IMG_3779 IMG_3788 IMG_3794

The No. 15 Santa Clara Broncos proved their worth Friday evening, handing the Panthers their second loss on the season.

For 75 minutes, both teams were vacant in the scoring column, but one side can only play defense for so long. There were late-game heroics in front of a crowd of 329 by Broncos senior forward Sofia Huerta. She scored the eventual game-winner at the 75th minute against a Panther defense that looked impenetrable all evening.

The Panthers had a wonderful first half, seemingly controlling the tempo and how they wanted to facilitate their shot selections (4 shots, 3 on goal). To have a 4:3 ratio of shots to shots on goal is no small task. Midfielders Johanna Volz and Alyssa Robinson, an interesting early substitute by Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt, both had three combined shots, with one on goal from Robinson, through the first 32 minutes. The Broncos were on their heels early. There was pressure on the opponent, but then came the second half.

The Broncos were not exactly quiet in the first half (eight shots to FIU’s four) and they continued their loud shooting streak from that point onward. Santa Clara struck early and often after halftime ended, but Panther goalkeeper Nevena Stojakovic held her own for a considerable amount of time. She finished the night with three saves, an impressive stat that continues to grow for the freshman (six on the season).

After chipping away at a Panther defense that held down the fort for so long, a late goal was eventually conceded, coming off of a cross by Santa Clara’s Kat Mcauliffe from just outside the box that found its home at the feet of Huerta.

Unfortunately for Chestnutt and his team, defense can only be played for so long. There needs to be a fair amount of both offense and defense played on any given night, something this team is not unfamiliar with doing. The current three game road trip, which concludes on Sunday, is a learning curve that each lady Panther can take with them once Conference USA play begins in late September.

Panther forwards Chelsea Leiva and Ashleigh Shim were held quiet for a majority of the game. Shim, who had two goals against the University of North Florida, was blank on the stat sheet in the 57 minutes she saw the field. Leiva, who played a more considerable amount of minutes (74), had one shot that almost put the Panthers on the board at the 69th minute on a breakaway opportunity. Ellen Crist, sophomore forward/midfielder, Robinson and Volz were the only other Panthers to attempt shots on the night.

The second half just wasn’t kind to the Panthers, as they had no shots or shots on goal for the last 45 minutes. That isn’t due to inabilities to find opportunities near the net, though. That’s an attest to Santa Clara’s defense. Sometimes, as hard as it sounds, a team has to give credit to a tougher defense.

A bright spot to take away from this loss is the increase in the amount of set pieces the Panthers saw. In their previous match, FIU only saw one corner kick. Friday night the Panthers witnessed five, including four in the second half. With chances like this, something Chestnutt has emphasized in practices, there’s bound to be a goal produced sooner rather than later.

It is far too premature to justify any of the standings in the C-USA, but if FIU needs any bit of motivation, it will be found against Pacific before coming home to Miami to begin their strong seven game home stretch.

The Panthers (1-2) look to take a bite out of the Pacific Tigers in Stockton, California, on Sunday, Aug. 31, at 4 p.m. EST.



FIU’s starting XI: Stojakovic, Leiva, Volz, Egan, Shim, Montoya, Hernandez, McMurtrie, Weinhardt, Stewart and Rios.

Redshirt sophomore defender Shelby Bowden did not start tonight after starting the first two matches of the season.

Both California teams (Santa Clara and Pacific) have no history with the Panthers.

About the Author

James Profetto
:Staff Writer for FIU Student Media. Majoring in Broadcast Media. Sports guru with a passion for movies, music and getting to know people. Aspiring play-by-play commentator. You'll see me on TV one day.

Be the first to comment on "Panthers trampled by Broncos, lose 1-0"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.