Despite another solid showing, first conference win continues to elude young Eagles
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team can't seem to catch a break.
The Eagles dropped a 2-1 decision to the Idaho State Bengals on Thursday (Oct. 13) in Pocatello, Idaho.
Eastern's record now stands at 1-11-0 (0-4 Big Sky), with four games remaining this season. Today's loss was EWU's fifth straight one-goal loss.
The Eagles jumped on the board quickly, with a goal by senior Whitney Brannan in the sixth minute. Brannan originally fired a shot that was deflected by Bengal goalkeeper Carly Hutchings-Maloney. The ball went right back to Brannan, though, and she one-touched it in from three yards out. It was her second goal of the season and the 16th of her collegiate career.
Ten minutes later, a similar situation happened, but in favor of the Bengals. Senior goalkeeper Jamie Walker was given a back-pass that was extremely hard to handle, and ended up at the feet of Idaho State's Amanda Ellsworth. Ellsworth passed it over to Rachel Strawn, who tapped the ball into the back of the net, knotting the score at 1-1.
The Bengals scored again two minutes later off of a textbook header by Ellsworth.
Eastern looked as though they would answer, when Brannan had a breakaway down the center of the pitch. However, her shot hit the cross bar, keeping the Eagles down 2-1.
"Once Idaho State got the lead, they took all of the momentum in the first half," said head coach George Hageage. "We played better in the second half of the game. We started it with two back-to-back corner kicks, but we just couldn't get the ball into the net."
In the second half, Junior Brittney Conway had her own opportunity to tie up the match as she gained possession in Bengal territory. Just before she was able to fire a shot, the ball rolled out of bounds, resulting in a goal kick for ISU.
"I thought we did well in the second half," said Hageage. "We generated a lot of opportunities and shut them down pretty good. We just couldn't score. Whitney had a great game. She looked quick and confident."
Brannan finished with a game-high eight shots, which ties her own school record for shots in a single game.
Each team had 14 shots, with Eastern holding a 9-3 advantage in the second half.
The Eagles will return to action on Saturday (Oct. 15) when they play the Weber State Wildcats with an 8:30 a.m. kickoff in Ogden, Utah.
"What's interesting is that we're doing a lot of things right," said Hageage. "But it's coming down to doing the little things wrong. We need to be consistent for 90 minutes; we need to take care of everything. There are a lot of growing pains with young players, but they are getting better. They just seem to make mistakes at the wrong time."