Eagles Prepare to Host Big Sky Newcomer North Dakota and Defending Regular-Season Champion Northern Colorado
After tough loss on the road, Eagles return to Cheney aiming to keep home field winning-streak alive
For the first time in school history, the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team will gear up to play North Dakota in a Big Sky Conference match on Friday (Oct. 5) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m., and in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, every member of the squad will be wearing pink wrist banks and pink socks at Friday’s game. There will also be a donation box at the concession stand on the east side of the field, where fans can donate to the “Kick for the Cure” campaign.
On Sunday (Oct. 7), the Eagles continue conference action at home when they host a more familiar rival in Northern Colorado at 11 a.m.
Eastern currently holds a 1-2-1 Big Sky record, 4-6-2 overall. This past weekend, the Eagles played their first two road games of the Big Sky season. They held Sacramento State to a 1-1 draw on Friday (Sept. 28), but gave up four goals in a tough 4-0 loss to Portland State on Sunday (Sept. 30).
But the last time the Eagles played at home, they defeated Big Sky rival Idaho State, 2-1. So the Eagles will look to again capitalize on some home-field advantage in their impending matches.
Eastern’s upcoming opponents come from opposite ends of the Big Sky standings.
North Dakota is currently at the bottom of the list after a tough introduction to the Big Sky. The team comes in with a 0-3 conference record, falling short against Sacramento State, Portland State, and Northern Colorado. Overall, UND is 2-7-1 and currently riding a five game losing streak, so EWU can expect North Dakota to be fired up to nab a win on the road and its first ever in Big Sky play.
On the other end of the spectrum, Northern Colorado currently holds the top spot in the conference, after sweeping all of its Big Sky opponents in shutouts this season. Its conference record stands at 3-0, with a 1-0 win against Portland State, 2-0 victory against Sacramento State, and 3-0 rout of North Dakota.
The Eagles have a solid record at home against UNC though. Eastern has not lost to the Bears in Cheney since 2005. The last time the two teams me in 2011, they battled to a 1-1 draw in double overtime at the home of the Eagles. Prior to that, the Eagles defeated UNC 1-0 in 2008 and in 2006, won 2-0. The Bears do have a slight advantage in the all-time record at 4-3-1.
UNC’s success this season has come as a result of a combined team effort. So far, the Bears have scored 13 goals contributed by 10 different players on the team. They have also tallied 14 assists, coming from 11 players. Leading the team in points by a small margin is junior forward Brittany Dunn. Dunn has seven points after recording two goals, three assists, and 19 shots.
Eagle News & Notes
Quite the Turnaround: With a 4-6-2 record
heading into just the second week of the Big Sky season, Eastern
Washington has already doubled its wins from a year ago. With 13
goals on the season, and at least five games still remaining, the
Eagles have already notched one more goal than the total it had
throughout the entire 2011 campaign. Seven different players have
scored at least one goal for EWU, while five different players have
had at least one assist.
Black Hauls in the Honors: Eastern Washington has won four of its last five outings, and put up eight goals in the process. Sophomore Cassie Black has had a hand, or rather foot, in six of those eight goals. In the last three weeks, the Battle Ground, Wash., native has scored five goals and assisted on two others. Her strong play has certainly turned a few heads. Black was a back-to-back Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18. She earned College Sports Madness Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 18, and was recognized with the same honor by Inland Northwest Soccer News.com. After leading Eastern to a 1-1 split at the Viking Classic (Sept. 7-9), which included Eastern’s first-ever win against Boise State, Black was named the Offensive MVP of the tournament. She scored two goals against the Broncos.
Black, Schwery and Byers Garner All-Tournament Honors: Three players from the Eastern soccer team were recognized for their strong performances at the Viking Classic (Sept. 7-9) at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore. Among the All-Tournament team honorees was sophomore forward Cassie Black, sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery, and junior forward Siara Byers. Black was also given the prestigious honor of Offensive MVP of the Viking Classic. She had an impressive showing against Boise State (Sept. 9), contributing two goals in 75 minutes of play, which helped Eastern secure a 3-1 win – its first ever against the Broncos. She also totaled 57 minutes of play against Utah State on (Sept. 7), tallying three shots with two on goal. Schwery stepped up for her team against Utah State, contributing a career-high 10 saves in 90 minutes of play. The Schuepfheim, Switzerland native had a strong showing between the pipes, only allowing one goal on 17 shot attempts by the Aggies. Hailing from Bremerton, Wash., Byers notched her first goal of the season against Boise State, as she put the Eagles up 2-0 with a strike in the 34th minute.
Black & Schwery Show Up in National Statistics: Sophomores Cassie Black and Nathalie Schwery are not only among the top players in the Big Sky in their respective positions, but both Eagles have also made contributions that have them appearing in the national rankings as well. With five goals on the season, Black is among the top 150 nationally. She ranks second s in the Big Sky for goals, averaging 0.42 per game and is also third in total points with 12. Black has notched three game-winning goals this season, which ranks 37th in the NCAA. Schwery currently holds the top spot in the Big Sky for save percentage, while ranking 37th in the nation. She has collected 51 total saves this season, allowing just nine goals for a .850 save percentage. Those 51 total saves ranks sixth in the Big Sky and 105th among all keepers in the country. Thanks to the combined efforts of Schwery and senior goalkeeper Jamie Walker, Eastern ranks second in the league in saves with 72 on the season and an average of 6.00 per game.