Eastern looking for first win of 2010 in the Mount Rushmore State
The Eastern Washington University soccer team will stay on the road this weekend, as it travels east to face South Dakota and South Dakota State on Sept. 17 and 19, respectively. The Eagles, who have seen both the Coyotes and Jackrabbits within the last two seasons, hope to snap a four-game losing skid in this weekend's matchups.
Friday's contest with South Dakota will mark the second-straight year the Eagles and Coyotes have met, as EWU dominated USD last season in Cheney, Wash. Four different Eagles scored goals in the game, while Brittany Sparks recorded two tallies to help Eastern solidify a 5-1 victory.
The last time Eastern played South Dakota State was during the 2008 season, when EWU upended the Jackrabbits in Brookings, S.D., by a score of 2-1. Sparks was also involved in that win, as she assisted the first goal to teammate Abby Jensen. The Jackrabbits, who currently hold a 3-1-2 overall record in the 2010 season, are the reigning champions of the Summit League.
"This trip to South Dakota is an important weekend for us," said EWU head coach George Hageage. "We have seen both of these programs before and they are very similar to the competition we will face in the Big Sky. SDSU is really good within their conference, and will certainly challenge us. We need to make sure we are organized on the field and play smart and aggressive throughout the entire game, and not just for one half, which has plagued us in a few of our previous games this season."
LAST TIME OUT... The Eagles played the Wyoming Cowgirls on Sept. 12 in Missoula, Mont., as part of the University of Montana Tournament. After holding the Cowgirls scoreless in the first period, Eastern allowed Wyoming to unleash in the second, as the Cowgirls netted three goals, two of which were scored in identical fashion. UW sophomore Jenny Johnson and senior Chelsea Coddington scored back-to-back goals in the 57th and 59th minutes, as both players got a forehead on a free kick sent in from freshman Liz O'Reilly, which they sent straight into the back of the net. Nine different Eagles fired shots in the contest, with freshman Erin Bourguignon leading the way with three. Junior Charlene Hitchcock tallied two shots, both of which were on frame, while sophomore Lauren Jacobsen and junior Melanie Kitsman also recorded two shots.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW... Junior Whitney Brannan has been the main offensive threat for the Eagles thus far in the 2010 campaign. She has scored two goals and taken 11 total shots, five of which were on frame. Freshman Erin Bourguignon is the only other Eagle to have recorded a goal, while freshman Hannah Scott and junior Sara Byrne have both contributed an assist. Fourteen different Eagles have taken shots over the four games, including eight players with three or more. The defensive unit is made up of a strong group of upperclassmen, including Byrne, seniors Lyndsey Martin and Hannah Kreminski and junior-transfer Dashia Huff. Sophomore Jamie Walker and senior Lisa Dimak have split time between the pipes for Eastern. Walker has collected 22 saves in her 335:33 minutes of play, while Dimak has corralled 17 saves in 164:27 minutes.
Scouting the Coyotes
• South Dakota has a 2-4-1 record thus far in the 2010
season, with both victories coming on their home field in
• The Coyotes average 12.4 shots per game, with a .425 shot on goal percentage. They have tallied eight goals this season, which ranks second in the Great West Conference.
• Freshman Jenny Teslow, who has started six of seven games for the Coyotes this season, is the leading scorer with five goals. She has also contributed an assist, for a team-leading 11 points.
• USD leads the GWC in saves with 11.29 per game. Starting goalkeeper Jen Ogren has collected 79 saves in 674:04 minutes for a conference-leading save pct. of .859.
Scouting the Jackrabbits
• South Dakota State returned 10 of its 11 starters that
helped the squad capture the Summit League title in 2009.
• The Jackrabbits, who have a 3-1-2 overall record thus far in 2010, have only allowed three goals in their six games this season, while recording a conference-leading four shutouts.
• Six different players on the SDSU roster have scored goals this year. Senior forward Danni Healy is the highest point-earner on the team (5) with two goals and one assist.
• Senior Kaitlin Justice and junior Kayla Braffet lead the team in total shots at 19 and 17, respectively, while players have put six of those shots on frame.
Brannan and Huff on Conference Watch List - According to TopDrawerSoccer.com, sophomore Whitney Brannan and junior Dashia Huff are among the top 20 players in the Big Sky Conference. In the most recent list, updated on Wednesday, Sept. 15, Brannan was tabbed as the No. 10 player in the conference, while Huff appeared at No. 19. Brannan has scored two goals for the Eagles this season and leads the team in total shots with 11, five of which have been on frame. Huff transferred to EWU this season from Walla Walla CC, where she earned NWAACC All-Star honors in 2009. Huff has started as a member of Eastern's back line in all five games of the 2010 season.
Hageage Added to NCAA Regional Advisory Committee - EWU head coach George Hageage was recently appointed to the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for the Pacific Region. Hageage was nominated for the position by Big Sky Conference Associate Commissioner Ron Loghry. As a member of the committee, Hageage will provide guidance to the governing committee of NCAA Division I soccer for rankings of the top 10 teams in the Pacific Region. Hageage, who is in his 11th year at the helm of the EWU women's soccer program, is also a national staff member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, where he contributes a vote in the accredited Top 25 poll -- released each week on NSCAA.com.
Martin's Laudable Leadership - Senior defender Lyndsey Martin was recently named co-captain for the 2010 soccer season. Martin joins Brittany Sparks and Lacey Schreiner as the senior leaders of the Eagle soccer program, both on and off the field. Martin has started all five games of the 2010 season as the central defender for EWU, and is among the top three players on the team for minutes played so far in the season. Martin earned All-Big Sky honorable mention accolades during her sophomore campaign in 2008, and has tallied one goal and one assist in her career.
Freshmen Firepower - The EWU women's soccer team has relied heavily on its freshmen contingent for valuable minutes off the bench this season. Nine different freshmen have played in at least one game for the Eagles, while three have appeared in all five. In Eastern's 2010 home debut versus Seattle (Sept. 3) and UC-Irvine (Sept. 5), two different freshman earned points for the team. Hannah Scott was credited with an assist after she recovered a loose ball at the edge of the box and sent it back to junior Whitney Brannan, who fired a laser straight to the back of the net. Erin Bourguignon scored her first-career goal against UC-Irvine, after she hammered a hard shot from 10 yards outside the box that hit the crossbar and bounced off the ground twice before finally falling across the goal line. Bourguignon has taken eight total shots this season, four of which have been on frame. Cheney native Tanya Baker has also been a constant in the Eagle lineup, as she has appeared in all five games thus far, including a start in the midfield versus Cal State Fullerton on Aug. 29.
Record-Setting Sparks - Senior Brittany Sparks appears in the EWU record book in eight different categories. Last season, she set the school record for single-season goals (11), points (22) and game winners (3). She is tied for first in career goals (14), while ranking second in career points (31) and game winners (4), and fourth in total shots (92). If Sparks scores just one goal this season, she will become the top goal scorer in Eastern Washington history!
Eagles Picked Sixth in BSC Preseason Poll - Similar to the start of last year's storybook season, Eastern was picked sixth in the 2010 Big Sky Preseason Coaches' Poll. Last year, the Eagles were selected eighth in the preseason rankings, but proved the pollsters wrong when they claimed runner-up honors in the regular season with an impressive 4-2-1 conference record. That mark in league play was the best for the Red and White since the 2004 campaign. Including last year's run, EWU has advanced to the BSC tournament four of the last eight seasons.
Brannan in the Books - Last season, Whitney Brannan etched her name in the EWU record book in four different categories. She is currently tied for fourth in single-season goals (5), tied for second in assists (3), third overall in shots (48) and fourth in points (13). Brannan, who leads the Eagle offense so far this season with 11 shots and two goals, was named to the All-Big Sky honorable mention team for her efforts in 2009. The Kennewick, Wash., native scored her first goal of 2010 against Cal State Bakersfield (Aug. 27), while notching her second tally of the season against Seattle (Sept. 3).
It's a Family Affair - The Eastern Washington Eagles have a long history of "soccer sisters." This year, the team features one set of sisters in Whitney and Brianna Brannan. Throughout history, the Eagles have had three sets of twins on the team, including two at the same time. Cynita and Cyeeta Mott and Jennifer and Kim McMullen all played on the field together during the 2004 season. In addition to siblings, the EWU coaching staff is a full-family effort. Head coach George Hageage and assistant coach Tamara Hageage have been married for 10 years, while George's father, George Jr., has served as volunteer assistant coach for the last seven seasons.