UNI football offense explodes in 5-0 win over St. Ambrose

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — UNI soccer had its highest-scoring match of 2022 in a 5-0 victory over the St. Ambrose Bees.

Wet, fast-paced conditions after 12 hours of rain didn’t prevent the Panthers from having their best offensive performance of the season Sunday afternoon. Three different UNI players scored five goals in 90 minutes as goalkeepers Caitlin Richards and Kennedy Buntenbach combined for laundry performance. In addition to a powerful offensive attacking head coach, Bruce Erickson won his 41st victory with the programme, a new record for UNI Soccer.

The Panthers started early with their first shot at the second minute forward Lauren Heinsch. While UNI took 20 shots in the first half, it wasn’t until the 42nd minute that the Panthers discovered Bees goalkeeper Molly McLaughlin. First-year student Sydney Burkey scored his first goal of the season on a long shot from the left side of the field that touched the right post before entering.

UNI would quickly add a second goal before the end of the first half as a defender Allison Whitaker got his first of the 2022 season. A freshman stream Makenzie Orr on the left side of the field in the final 30 seconds put the ball on Whitaker’s right foot outside the penalty area. Whitaker fired a quick shot that rounded McLaughlin into the right corner of the net.

Once the Panthers got on the attack, there was no stopping them in the second half. Forward Ashley Harington fired a free kick in the 46th minute that put the ball just in front of the net. The ball would be put in the net by Bees midfielder Kaitlyn Brunson for an own goal. The Bees own goal would give UNI a three-point lead going into the half.

Another Panther would score their first goal of the season 13 minutes later. Senior Striker Kennedy Rieken had plenty of space on the right side just past the penalty area line. A cross from Burskey hit Rieken as she followed with her right foot to slot the ball into the bottom right corner.

UNI would come around on their last goal in the 67th minute as Whitaker had their second on 23 minutes. The senior defender used her header from the left side of the penalty area to place a corner kick into the bottom left corner of the net. Burskey would get a second assist on the count as she took the corner kick.

The Bees took two more shots on goal late in the game. Both shots were saved by Richards and the second-year goalie Kennedy Buntenbach.

Buntenbach replaced Richards in the 70th minute of the game to make his first college appearance. Buntenbach made his only save of the contest shortly after entering the match. She made a diving save in the 72nd minute on a shot from a Bees midfielder.

Thirteen Panthers scored in the 5-0 win over the Bees, putting the game in UNI’s history books. With 34 shots in the game and 18 shots on goal, the Panthers had the second-best offensive shot in program history. The 20 shots in the first half as well as the 11 shots on goal were also good for the second best in a single game in UNI soccer history.

Second-year midfielder Olivia Knoepfle led the team in shots with six of his own as six different Panthers (Caroline HazenHeinsch, Knoepfle, Whitaker, Rieken and Maddie Celarek) led the team in shots on goal at two apiece. Whitaker would be the only UNI player with multiple afternoon goals. Burskey was the only Panthers player to register two assists. Goalkeeper Caitlin Richards recorded his second shutout of the season and twice in as many starts for the Panthers.

UNI will face another Summit League opponent to start its third week of play of the 2022 season. In South Dakota State, the reigning Summit League champions travel to Cedar Falls to face the Panthers on Thursday 1st. September at 4 p.m.

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