From Iowa to Wisconsin, the Greenville College Women’s soccer team faced a weekend they would not soon forget. After fourteen hours on the road, two games, and hours of “What are the Odds”, the Lady Panthers returned to Greenville with a 2-1 loss to Coe College and a 1-0 win against Maranatha Baptist University.
The Panthers started their weekend at 7:30am on Friday morning. Bags packed, breakfast to-go, and the bus loaded, the men’s and women’s soccer team began their journey to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The taxing bus ride alone proved difficult as the hot weather, bus legs, and artificial turf did not help.
Friday’s game started off rough as Coe scored an easy goal two minutes into the match. The Lady Panthers were, at this point, just trying to hold off the Coe College Kohawks. Greenville continued to get pounded on their half of the field as they did all they could to keep the ball out of their net. However, GC’s efforts could not hold off the persistent Coe offense as they bagged another goal in the twenty-first minute. After the second Coe goal, it was evident that the Lady Panthers needed to make a few changes if they wanted to come out on top.
It is safe to say that the halftime whistle definitely blew in GC’s favor. Head Coach Jeff Wardlaw dug into the girls and realization set that something needed to change– and change fast.
As soon as the second half whistle blew, it was evident that the Lady Panthers had a whole different mindset. The game suddenly turned as Greenville began to create chances on the opposing team. It looked as though it could be anyone’s game. The Panthers still struggled to win 50-50 balls but the fight definitely there. With ten minutes left in the game, Wardlaw switched formations allowing more girls to get forward in the attack. This coaching tactic proved successful when sophomore Dani Pearce scored a beautiful goal from right field assisted by senior Whitney Warner in the eighty-fifth minute. No matter how much effort GC put forth to bag a second goal, the final whistle would blow and the scoreline would remain 2-1 in the Kohawks favor.
After another two hours on the bus, less than eight hours of sleep, then another hour stretch on the road, the Lady Panthers began warm up for their second match of the weekend against the Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats in Watertown, Wisconsin. With less than 24 hours of rest between games, the Greenville Women’s soccer team was ready to prove themselves. As the sun shone down on the players preparing themselves for the contest ahead, one could sense the determination in the air.
With the success experienced in the previous game with the new formation, Wardlaw decided to keep the same formation, one GC had not yet been able to perfect in practice. This new formation would allow more movement off the ball in the attack, which the Panthers so desperately needed. And that is exactly what happened. GC recorded twenty-seven shots total with eleven of them on goal. The new formation was doing exactly what it was supposed to, creating opportunities to capitalize on the opponent’s mistakes. Although the Lady Panthers were on fire, the score would not show who was in control. It wasn’t until the eighty-seventh minute that Warner would send a long cross into the back of the net creating a scoreline of 1-0. Dumbfounded, the team rushed Warner and surrounded her with hugs. Warner’s goal would be the only of the match resulting in a Panther victory.
With this victory, the Lady Panthers are now 3-4 and conference is just around the corner. GC will play Webster on their home turf on Saturday, September 24, at 5pm. Come cheer on the Women’s soccer team for their first conference game against the number one team in conference!