Eastern’s relentless defense lends a hand in first draw of season
A double overtime battle between the Eagles and Falcons resulted in a 0-0 draw on Friday (Aug. 31) at Cadet Soccer Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After remaining scoreless during regulation play, the Eagles were able to fend off several overtime scoring attempts by the Falcons for the tie.
The Falcons outshot the Eagles 26 to 19, but Eastern put 10 of its attempts on goal, compared to Air Force’s seven.
“It was extremely windy and at a higher altitude, so those were things we had to adjust to during the game,” said head coach George Hageage. “They had the advantage of the wind the second half, but we kept the ball on the ground and played through it.”
Eastern’s Natalie Schwery stepped up for her team, recording seven saves in 110 minutes of play between the pipes – she tallied one save in the first half and added six more in the second. This was Schwery's first start, as she has been nursing a pulled hamstring.
“The coaches decided that if she felt 90 percent today, she would start this game,” said Hageage. “She rested a lot this past week and felt good enough to go in, so we started her. She played really well and did a great job organizing the defense for us.”
In their first three appearances, the Eagles struggled with ill-timed breakdowns in defense, but the team was finally able to work out the kinks. Defenders Katie Cashman, Brianna Brannan, Kayla Sutter, and Jessica Wallace made up the back line that was responsible for keeping the Falcons at bay.
“We are getting better on defense,” said Hageage. “The defenders did not let anything through. The back four played the entire game, including overtime, and really did an excellent job.”
In the second overtime, the red and white put together a solid run on goal lead by sophomore Cassie Black, but were unable to finish.
“Cassie had a great play that could have been the game-winner. She had a nice run and slotted it through the defense, but unfortunately we were unable to finish it,” said Hageage. “Today we attacked well, concentrated on getting shots, and we are looking really good as a team. This was a good game for us.”
Eastern will wrap-up this road trip on Sunday (Sept. 2) against the Wyoming Cowgirls at Lois S. Madrid Sports Complex in Laramie, Wyo. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. PST.