Eastern waves farewell to four key contributors
On a rainy day in Cheney, Wash., the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team failed to send its seniors off with one final victory, as it lost to Seattle University 5-0 on Sunday (Oct. 30). The Eagles end the season with a 2-13-1 record.
Seattle's Ava Ames started off the scoring for the Redhawks when she was fed a ball from Stephanie Verdoia inside the 18 yard box. Ames flotted one home into the bottom right corner. The next goal came in the 41st minute as Taylor Fannin scored her first goal of the season, to give the Redhawks a two-goal advantage at halftime.
"I'm disappointed we gave up five goals," said head coach George Hageage. "We can't get that abused in the back. Seattle had great opportunities and they finished them. And we only had one shot in the first half -- we can't settle for that."
In the second half, Hageage decided to shuffle his lineup. Huff – EWU's top defender – was moved to forward to try and spark the Eagle offense. Also, freshman Katie Cashman and sophomore Brianna Brannan played side by side as the two center backs.
"Next year, Brianna and Katie will be our two center backs and we've never played a game with them back there at the same time," said Hageage. "They did well after the first six minutes of the second half. There was some confusion that led to a couple goals early, but I liked the way they settled in after that. Eventually we started holding the ball through our center backs. That's what needs to happen in our system."
Junior goalkeeper Jamie Walker had eight saves, with seven coming in the first half. After the fourth Redhawk goal, freshman Nathalie Schwery replaced Walker. Schwery had three saves, including an impressive one with a stretched arm to block a diving header.
Whitney Brannan ends her Eagle career with 17 goals, which is tied for the all-time record. She did take a team-high four shots against Seattle, but unfortunately she couldn't convert one for the outright record.
With just four seniors leaving, Eastern will welcome back plenty of faces next year, including freshman Haley Stading who had one of the best performances of her young career against the Redhawks.
"Haley was awesome today," said Hageage. "She's great. She showed her talent. (Freshman) Kayla Sutter played well. So did Johnson and Jacobsen. Cashman is a freshman and Cassie Black (EWU's leading scorer this season) is also a freshman. The young talent is just littered all over."
But despite the fact that Hageage is looking forward to a young, promising team, the four seniors will certainly be missed.
"Just like with every senior class, and this one is no exception, four years with somebody is a lot," he said. "They put in so much hard work. They're dedicated kids that do well in the classroom. We're going to miss them, but once you're part of the Eastern soccer family, you're always a part of the Eastern soccer family."