Sparks scores ninth goal of season in 64th minute to extend school record
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team knocked off Idaho State 1-0 in a Big Sky Conference game on Sunday morning (Oct. 11) to move to 2-0 in league play for the first time in history (EWU started 1-0-1 in 2004 and 2005). The win was the third straight for the Eagles (5-6-1), tying a school record that was set in 2002 and tied in 2004 and 2007.
Eastern also recorded a shutout for the second straight contest (EWU blanked Weber State 1-0 on Thursday). The Eagles now have a four-game unbeaten streak, as well, which ties for that school mark, previously accomplished in 2004 and 2005. Eastern also snapped Idaho State's four-game winning streak today and is now tied for first place with Sacramento State.
"I am really proud of the way we fought, once again, with a 1-0 lead," head coach George Hageage said. "We have spent the last two weeks working defensively on clamping down and not giving teams easy opportunities on goal and did a decent job of limiting that today against a very good team in Idaho State that came in on a roll."
Brittany Sparks scored the lone goal of the game in the 64th minute, her ninth of the season to extend her school-record total. The score was also the 12th of the junior's career, which places her in sole possession of second place in school history for that category, just two back of Cyeeta Mott's record of 14, attained from 2004-07.
The score came after Chelsey Hannesson passed it over the top of Idaho State's defense from 25 yards away, and Sparks then proceeded to race 25 more yards with the ball before slotting it past the goalkeeper and into the net from 12 yards out.
"Idaho State was very organized in the back today and to get the through ball over the top was hard to do," Hageage said.
The Bengals (6-5, 1-1 BSC) used the wind to their advantage in the second half, as ISU's seven corner kicks all took place in that stanza (and Eastern's four were all in the first half).
"They went three up top in the second half to take advantage of the wind and tried to pump balls in," Hageage said. "We weathered the storm very well, but we do need to limit some of the easy corner kick opportunities we gave up today."
Eastern Washington will play its last two home games of the regular season this weekend, with Portland State (7-6-1, 1-1 BSC) paying a visit on Friday (Oct. 16) for a 3:30 p.m. contest, and Sacramento State (7-3-3, 2-0 BSC) visiting the EWU campus at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 18).