The 12th season of Missouri Valley Conference play begins Friday as three league games highlight the slate. League-leader Evansville (7-2-1) opens up on the road at Northern Iowa (3-5-1), Illinois State (4-3-1) is at Indiana State (4-7-0) and Missouri State (4-7-0) visits Creighton (5-5-0). Defending regular-season and tournament champion Drake has the bye weekend, facing Kansas in a non-conference tilt. Kayla Lambert and Nicole Zygmontowicz of Evansville are this week's Brine/MVC Players of the Week.
Brine/MVC Offensive Player of the Week
Kayla Lambert, Evansville, Jr., F, Las Vegas, Nev.
This week’s Brine/Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week is Kayla Lambert of Evansville. Lambert scored the third hat trick of her career in Friday’s 3-0 win over UAB, scoring once in the first half and twice in the second half. She now has seven goals this season, and 34 in her career. Friday’s hat trick was her first since her freshman season.
Brine/MVC Defensive Player of the Week
Nicole Zygmontowicz, Evansville, Sr., D, Bremerton, Washington
This week’s Brine/Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week is Nicole Zygmontowicz of Evansville. Nicknamed “Ziggy”, Zygmontowicz was UE’s top ranked defender in both matches last week as the Aces posted two shutouts, 3-0 over UAB and 1-0 over IUPUI. The central defender also assisted on Kayla Lambert’s first goal in Friday’s victory over UAB.
Other Notable Performers...Offense: Nikki Thaden, Drake; Sara Tretter, Indiana State
Other Notable Performers...Defense: Rachel Rudzis, Indiana State.
Creighton was held scoreless in both of its matches over the weekend, marking the first time since 2004 the Bluejays have been shut out in consecutive matches. In four of the Jays’ five losses this season, the team has not recorded a goal.
The Bluejays entered the weekend with a league-best 124 shots, but registered only a combined nine shots in their two matches out west this past weekend. Marcy Gans, the MVC leader in shots, was held without a shot against Arizona State for the first time this season.
Creighton opens MVC play with a home match against Missouri State on Friday, matching teams both entering on losing streaks. The Bluejays are
5-2-1 in MVC openers under head coach Bruce Erickson, including a 1-0 win over Illinois State last season.
Drake opponents have taken 126 shot attempts to the Bulldogs 102, for a 87% shot percent to Drake’s 69%.
The Bulldogs posted their first shutout of the season Friday night downing South Dakota State, 2-0. It was sophomore goalkeeper Jenny Schroeder’s seventh shutout of her career.
Drake enters its final tuneup weekend before taking on its MVC Schedule. They host Kansas at 6:30 Friday and travel to Green Bay for a noon match on Sunday.
Evansville’s 7-2-1 record is the third best at the 10-match mark in the 15-year history of women’s soccer at UE. The 2001 and 2005 teams are the only ones that started out better. Both were 8-2-0.
The Aces will have to wait until October 14 to try to extend their home field unbeaten streak. They’re 8-0-1 at Black Beauty Field since losing at home to Indiana, 1-0, last October. But UE’s first two MVC matches come on the road--Friday at UNI and Oct. 12 at Indiana State--before Evansville returns home on the 14th to play Missouri State.
Junior forward Kayla Lambert accounted for five consecutive Evansville goals until Mia Tofano scored Sunday’s lone goal in a 1-0 win over IUPUI. Lambert scored both UE goals in a 2-1 win over Murray State, and all three in Friday’s 3-0 win over UAB. She now has seven this season and 34 in her career, the third most goals in UE history.
The Redbirds had their first draw of the season against Oakland. It was also the first tie in the series between the two schools.
Senior forward Bethany Russ and sophomore midfielder Ammanda Wisniewski each scored against Oakland. They remain in a tie for the team lead in goals with four each.
Russ moved into a tie for sixth place on the school’s all-time goals list (11) and a tie for sixth place in points (29).
The road seems to be a lonely place for Missouri Valley Conference teams this year. Illinois State is 0-2-1 on the road this year, while the MVC has a 7-18 mark while playing on the road this season.
The Sycamores have faced two nationally-ranked opponents and four regionally-ranked opponents so far this year. Against nationally-ranked foes, Indiana State is 0-2, with losses to Marquette (0-2 on 9/2) and Illinois (0-3 on 9/23).
Indiana State seems to fare better when playing in the friendly confines of its home field. At home this season, the Sycamores own a winning record, going 3-2 in Terre Haute. On the road, it is a different story. The Sycamores are winless, 0-4, outside of Terre Haute this season.
Missouri State’s goalkeeper, Jackie Jasper has moved up in the Missouri State career leader’s chart. Jasper has moved into second in three categories, saves (248), minutes in goal (4588), and matches started in goal (49).
Missouri State is averaging 12.7 shots per game and their opponents 9.8 shots per game. However, the Bears are having difficulty scoring goals being shutout in the last five consecutive games.
Freshman Chelsie Hochstedler’s six goals are just two away from the UNI single-season record of eight. Jane Masteller scored eight goals during the 2001 season and finished her career with 12 goals.
UNI has forced three games into overtime this season and is 1-1-1 in overtime affairs. The Panthers tied South Dakota State 1-1 in their first game of the season, then lost 1-0 to Valparaiso Sept. 16. UNI earned a 1-0 overtime victory over Air Force Sept. 23.
With three wins on the year, the Panthers have locked up their best record since 2003. In that year UNI won 10 games and earned a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament berth.