Panthers outrun the Racers, beat Murray State 1-0

IMG_3799 IMG_3802 IMG_3807 IMG_3814As each Panther walked onto the field, there wasn’t much dancing compared to the warmups before the FGCU match on Sept. 3. Instead, there was a look of fire in each pair of eyes. Smiles were shone every now and again, but the mission for Friday, Sept. 5 was clear-cut: Win at all costs and avoid an 0-3 home record.

The wind was blowing modestly as the Star Spangled Banner blared over the speakers and finished with a round of applause that indicated the stands weren’t as full as before. Still, the mission remained the same, regardless of a large crowd or not. A whistle blew and Murray State University, hailing from Murray, Kentucky, kicked-off.

Throughout the first half, FIU controlled the tempo and kept possession– two aspects that were missing against FGCU. The Panthers found six shots and four of them on goal (four different players with at least one on goal). The Racers of Murray State only had two shots and none on goal. A quiet 45 minutes for MSU compared to the boisterous roar of the Panthers. Senior forward Ashleigh Shim had two chances early on, as she proved to be the thorn in the Racers’ side all day.

“We recognized the mental approach that we had to the game. I thought it was [a] better [approach] from the start,” said Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt.

A better approach, indeed, as each Panther discovered their abilities to get behind this weak Murray State defense. MSU, coming off a 5-1 loss to Dayton University, displayed similar first half defensive struggles, which may have been the tipping point for MSU Head Coach Jeremy Groves who received an early yellow card at the 29th minute.

Even amongst the beautiful passes and connections, FIU had trouble finding the back of the net– until the 64th minute. Redshirt junior midfielder Scarlet Montoya connected with teammate Johanna Volz, senior midfielder, for her third assist of the season and Volz’s second goal of the season.

“I can always count on Scarlet to find me through. It happens day in and day out [in] practice and in-game. She just always has her head up,” said Volz. “As soon as she picked her head up, I knew if I made a hard run, she’d find me one way or another. And she did.”

A simple touch past the keeper is how Volz described her shot, but there was nothing simple about the ramifications of the eventual game-winner. FIU is now 1-2 at home, avoiding a dreadful 0-3 record, and an impressive 3-0 after a loss.

Chestnutt and his staff have been comfortable through six games this season in giving chances to the young freshmen of this Panther team, knowing that the word “freshman” is only a label. Freshman midfielders Courtney Phillips and Paula Quintero combined for 59 minutes of action against the Racers. Both have provided the needed spark to the offense and have grabbed the attention of fans, alike. Season ticket holder Mark Dieujuste has even given Phillips the first fan nickname of many: “CP3.”

“I feel like my role is to support my teammates by being aggressive and contributing to the attack,” said Quintero. “As a freshman, it’s hard, you know? It’s a whole different team, but the team has been so supportive and welcoming, on and off the field.”

At the end of the humid night, Murray State was sent racing back home, hoping to forget about allowing the Panthers to shoot 15 times and have 6 on goal. With a much-needed win for the Panthers, they turn their attention towards Oregon State University.

“We have a whole week now to prepare for our next game, and [there’s] nothing better than preparing off a win,” said Volz.

FIU (3-3) looks to carry their momentum at home next Friday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m., against Oregon State University (0-3-1).



FIU Starting XI: Hernandez, Montoya, Shim, Egan, Stojakovic, McMurtrie, Weinhardt, Bowden, Leiva, Volz and Rios.

Sara Stewart, midfielder, was sidelined for the match after her collision against FGCU.

Nevena Stojakovic had three saves on the night, all of which kept the Panthers in firing range of MSU.

The Panther defense kept MSU top-scorer Julie Mooney off the board with only one shot in 62 minutes.

Photo by Maria Lorenzino/ The Beacon

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.

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