Western Illinois’ women’s soccer team is riding a major hot streak at the moment, winners of three straight and their first two Summit League matches. Part of the reason for that recent success has been the continuous excellence of goalkeeper Ines Palmiero-Herrera and midfielder Zoe Clarke. On Monday, that excellence was recognized by the Summit League as Herrera was named Defensive Player of the Week, while Clarke was named Offensive Player of the Week.
The Leathernecks have been playing solid, efficient soccer, showcasing an excellent defense and a stone-wall goalie, while the trio of Amy Andrews, Clarke and Jenna Lundgren has been causing havoc for opponents offensively. Clarke opened her 2019 Summit League goals account on Sunday when she put in a beautifully taken free kick goal to put the Leathernecks up 1-0 in an eventual 2-0 win over Purdue Fort Wayne. She has been a physical force for WIU all season, showing a real ability to win possession of the ball and make accurate passes to keep it. She has scored two goals and recorded one assist on the season and will look to bump those numbers up as the intensity ratchets up in the Summit League.
Herrera had herself quite the week as well, as the shutdown goalie locked up three shutouts for WIU and made some eye-popping saves along the way. In total for the week, Herrera stopped an extremely impressive 13 shots, good for an average of more than four saves per game. She has continued her climb up the Summit League and WIU leaderboards as well, as she now has four clean sheets on the season and Sunday’s 2-0 win was her seventh shutout of her career, good for a tie for third in WIU history with Meghan Tyk. WIU will be on “Herrera Watch” all season long to see how far the storied ‘keeper can climb.
WIU will head into its road matchup with Denver, Thursday, sitting on top of the Summit standings through two matches and with the third-most overall wins in the conference with six. The Leathernecks will look to continue this exciting recent run of play with a 8 PM CT kickoff.