Womens Soccer Wins Home Opener

Indya Vassel/PantherNOW

Giuliana La Mendola/Contributing Writer 

The FIU Women’s soccer team won their first home game Friday, Aug. 30, 3-0 against Jacksonville University.

The Panthers lost their two previous away matches against FGCU and Jacksonville State. 

Despite the heat and chaos of Hurricane Dorian, the team found ways to stay focused on the game. 

“Before a game, I usually visualize how the game is in my head and what runs I should be making… I just put on my headphones and get in the zone. I really feel into the music to get hyped up and ready to play,” said sophomore forward Rayquell Berry.

The Panthers were ready and it showed early. They took control of the game, having possession for the majority of the first half. However, Jacksonville didn’t rollover. 

The Dolphins had 3 on-target shots but their attempts were flawlessly defended by sophomore goalkeeper Julia Gottlieb.

FIU Head Coach Sherolta Nonen made three key substitutions in the first half.  

With 15 minutes left until halftime and a score of 0-0, it seemed that this would be an evenly-matched game. 

Ellen Halseth freshman forward. Indya Vassel/PantherNOW

Junior midfielder Yolanda Albalat Cortes made a killer pass to freshman forward Ellen Halseth to score the first goal of the game. The Panthers left the field for halftime with a lead of 1-0. 

Both teams came back ready to play. The Jacksonville Dolphins took early possession proceeding kickoff and their aggressive offense remained inefficient against FIU defenders and new goalkeeper, sophomore Cristina Velazquez, who took over during the final 45 minutes.

Only seven minutes into the second half, Cortes made another defining play, assisting Rayquell Berry in her first goal of the match. From this point on, FIU remained dominant.

With 18 shots on target, the Dolphins defense seemed slightly defeated but were still trying their best against FIU’s coordinated offense. Ultimately though, they could not do anything to stop Ellen Halseth’s well-placed assist to Berry, where she made her second and final goal of the match.

The final 20 minutes of the game were spent making dangerously close plays, but the FIU team and fans already knew that they had secured a 3-0 victory.

The Panthers’ celebrated their win with hugs in the post-game huddle. The close relationships, encouragement, and respect they have for each other was evident during gameplay and after.

Ellen Halseth, the freshman forward from Norway, spoke highly of her teammates. 

”I love [being on the team] so far. They’ve been taking really good care of me, kind of like a family,” she said. 

The Panthers will play University of North Florida on Friday, Sept. 6th. 


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