Eastern Washington ties for third-most goals in school history, claims season opener
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team poured in four goals, tied for its third-highest scoring output in history, in defeating McNeese State 4-1 on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 29). The game was the season opener for the host Eagles.
Brittany Sparks tickled the twine twice today, scoring in the 25th and 84th minutes. The junior had entered 2009 with three career goals. In fact, she has now scored in three straight contests, having tallied scores in each of the final two games of the 2008 season.
The two goals scored by Sparks tied the school record.
The only time EWU had ever scored more than four goals in a game came on Aug. 31, 2007, in a 5-0 win over Lamar and on Oct. 11, 1997 in a 6-0 victory over NAIA member Carroll College. The most Eastern had scored in a game during the 2008 campaign was three in a 3-2 overtime win over Montana in the season finale on Oct. 31.
"We have been working really hard on getting our runs into the box and being more aggressive in the attacking third, and it was good to see it pay off today," head coach George Hageage said. "Defensively, I thought we had very strong performances from our backs, and our two new goalkeepers (Lisa Dimak and Jamie Walker) did great.
"It was a good first game, especially against a team that had already played a couple of games."
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first when Mandy Cheney was taken down in the box, and Kirsten Fausko slotted home the ensuing penalty kick, the sophomore's first career goal. Sparks' initial goal of the day came when she took a pass from Whitney Brannan and tucked the ball just inside the left post.
Brannan had a great chance herself in the 28th minute when she pounced on a saved shot from Fausko that was spilled by the goalkeeper and nailed a shot just off the right post. Katy Sloyer then had a shot in the 30th minute that nicked off the crossbar.
Then, McNeese State cut its deficit in half with a perfectly-placed and timed pass from Lauren LaLanne hit Sarah Lowdon, who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper 25 yards from goal before converting the score.
Brannan then did got on the scoreboard when she also hit a ball that nicked the crossbar, this time the underside, before hitting pay dirt. That goal came as a result of a scramble in the box following an Eastern shot attempt and was scored in the 51st minute.
Morgan O'Friel had a pair of quality, hard shot attempts in the 71st and 77th minutes that she was unfortunate to not see hit the back of the net.
Sparks scored her second goal, and Eastern's fourth, in the 84th minute when she took a pass from Chelsey Hannesson and beat the goalkeeper from seven yards out.
Overall, the Eagles outshot the Cowgirls 16-8, although McNeese State did possess a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks. Fouls were even at 11 apiece.
The Eagles now will make the trip across the state to face Seattle University in the Emerald City at 4 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 31). The Redhawks are 3-1 so far in 2009.