This Saturday, the Columbus Eagles face their biggest test of the young season 2021. They travel to Cincinnati to take part in the Premier Lakes Soccer League tournament in the Great Lakes region. It is an event that provides teams with an inexpensive way to play multiple games in a short period of time. Instead of letting the teams travel for eight Saturdays all winter, the teams meet in a city to fill the PASL schedule.
The Eagles play three games in a row on Saturday night. First, a familiar enemy in the Cincinnati Sirens. This will be the first game for Cincinnati since Columbus fought for a 6-6 draw in the Eagles’ PASL opener on February 6. The kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CET). Columbus is aiming for his first win against the team’s rivals in all leagues since May 19, 2018, when they beat the Sirens 5-0 in Cincinnati.
Almost two hours later, at 8:10 am, the Eagles play against the Grand Rapids Wanderers. The Wanderers are new to the PASL this season and haven’t played a league game in 2021. They are a relatively unknown entity to Columbus supporters as they formed a competitive arena team in 2020. Prior to last year, the Wanderers played in an annual charity exhibition game that grew into a regularly competing side.
If the Wanderers are relatively unknown, the Eagles’ final game of the tournament will be against a completely unknown team at the Chicago Brujas. According to a response from the PASL, “they are making their first foray into women’s football.” For men, the Chicago Brujos have played exhibition games against the league’s men’s teams in the past.
While the game between Eagles and Sirens can look different as both teams play some games and play one against each other, the games against the Wanderers and Brujas will reveal a lot about this Eagles team. Mainly, how do they adapt to teams where there is no experience against each other?
Last week, the Eagles had to bring a smaller squad to Chicago to take on the Mustangs. Due to a field availability issue in Chicago, the original game date was changed from March 13th to March 20th. This meant that not all Columbus players were available, including the team’s coach. The match ended in a 9-2 loss for the Eagles, with Jordan Fike scoring a goal in their first match against the Eagles in 2021. Deijah Swihart also extended her team lead in goals with her third after scoring two goals in the season opener against Cincinnati.
Goalkeeper Lauren Demarchi returns for the third game. Manager Mark Wise was concerned Demarchi wouldn’t be able to play this weekend but she will make the trip. The Eagles will have to look for goalkeeping depth going forward in case Demarchi misses the time as she is currently the only goalkeeper on the roster.
For the second week in a row, Fike, Morgan Wilcoxon and last week’s player / trainer Amberly Knox are also playing. Knox appeared in both games of the 2021 season.
Columbus brings a roster of the required depth to Cincinnati. Five players return from the season opener in team captain Ashley Gogolin, midfielders Alivia Milesky and Mellonee Hall, defender Maggie Bunker and striker Madison Costner after missing the Windy City defeat last weekend.
Three players will make their debut at the Eagles 2021 on Saturday. Midfielder Micaela Powers is an Eagle veteran who has worked for the team in the past Women’s Premier Soccer League outdoor campaigns. Another veteran returns in the attack, with Erin Brockway joining Fike and Costner in the front position.
Her debut at Columbus Eagles will be a former Big Ten Defender of the Year at Ohio StateMorgan Wolcott. She took the award home with her and was named the All-Big Ten of the first team in 2017 and the All-Big Ten of the second team in 2016. In addition to her skills on the field, Wolcott was a five-time All-Big Ten academic recipient by the end of her 2017 senior season. She fills a defensive void left by Monique Reventlow that is unavailable for week two.
Reventlow was added to the injured reserve list along with Susan D’Isidoro, the goalscorer from the first game of 2021. Swihart, who is unavailable, is also missing this weekend.
The Sirens confirmed that their match with the Eagles will be carried over to the team Facebook site. After the tournament, the Eagles end their PASL season with three home games in March against the Wanderers on March 6th, the Chicago Mustangs on March 13th and end the winter season against the Sirens on March 20th. All home games are available live stream on the Columbus Eagles team’s website.