Off on the right foot

Sperl has seven game-winners all-time.

Senior Nicole Sperl knocked a looper over keeper Katie Baumgardner in the 80th minute and the Milwaukee Panthers took down the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2010 season opener at Jessie Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio Friday night.

Sperl and junior Sarah Hagen each scored a goal for the Panthers (1-0), who remain undefeated against the Buckeyes all-time.  Ohio State (0-1), picked to finish second in the Big Ten, drops its first home opener in over a decade.

The Panthers got on the board quickly in the 2010 season.  Sarah Hagen scored her 49th goal all-time in just the second minute, the fastest start to a season since 1991.  Hagen dribbled around the Ohio State defender and put one past keeper Rachel Middleman with relative ease.

For much of the first half, the Buckeyes controlled possession, but only scored one goal, a header by Paige Maxwell off a corner kick in the eighth minute.  At halftime, each team traded out goalkeepers; Leslie Deebach was subbed out in favor of sophomore Jamie Forbes, and Middleman left the pitch, making way for Baumgardner.  Forbes ended up as the only goalkeeper to not let in a goal during the match, but Deebach made three spectacular saves in the first half that stopped the Buckeyes from taking the lead.

It was an unassisted goal in the eightieth minute that gave Milwaukee a victory.  Nicole Sperl took a coughed up ball from the Ohio State side and sent a looper over Baumgardner’s head like a single over the shortstop.  The Buckeye keeper was a bit out of place, and Sperl took advantage.

Excellent defense ended up saving the Panthers.  Milwaukee won despite having a large disadvantage on corner kicks (9-1) and shots.

Hagen’s goal in the second minute puts her just eight back from tying Lisa Krzykowski’s all-time record of 57 goals.

The Panthers have no time to celebrate their victory, as they walk into the home of the Irish on Sunday.  Milwaukee is 1-5 against Notre Dame all-time, and the Fighting Irish are ranked 4th in the nation to start the season.  UND opened the season with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota of the Big Ten.   The game on Sunday begins at 1:30 p.m. Milwaukee time.


  1. Korry

    August 21, 2010 at 12:25 am

    nice to see the panthers to a quick start

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