In a game of firsts, Black and Hepworth lead Eagles to victory
Cassie Black registered her first collegiate career hat trick and tied Eastern’s single-game scoring record, to highlight a strong performance by the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team.
The Eagles used Black’s scoring spree, along with a first career goal for freshman Caitlin Hepworth, to claim a 4-1 victory against North Dakota on Friday (Oct. 5) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash.
Despite Eastern’s success, North Dakota actually took the lead first, when freshman midfielder Taryn MacMillan slotted home a goal at the 17 minute mark. UND’s Anna Jung took a shot on goal that was deflected by Eastern’s goalkeeper, Jamie Walker. The loose ball was collected by Jung and distributed to MacMillan, who made good on her attempt for the 1-0 lead. The goal was MacMillan’s third of the season.
“Credit goes to North Dakota because they have some talented players up top who can be dangerous,” said head coach George Hageage. “And they did not stop trying to push the ball forward. But I was really happy with the energy from our team, especially in the first 15 minutes. We have been preaching this week about coming out and setting the bar high, and I think we did that.”
Eastern used that energy to quickly answer UND’s goal with one of its own. Only 45 seconds after North Dakota scored, senior Kasey McNeill assisted Black’s first strike, to even the score at 1-1.
Twenty minutes into the second half, sophomore Haley Stading fed Black the ball in the box. Black controlled it and found the back of the net to put the Eagles in the lead. It was Black’s seventh goal of the season, which busted her freshman year scoring record of six.
Black was not done yet, though. With only nine minutes left on the game clock, Stading took a shot that was intercepted by UND’s goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen, but she was unable to control it. Black possessed the loose ball and blasted a shot past the keeper to complete her hat trick and advance her season goal tally to eight.
“Cassie played really well this game,” said Hageage. “I am proud of her. This past weekend, she was really disappointed in her performance, and our performance as a team, against Sac State and Portland State. So it was really great to see our team rebound from that and to see her get the hat trick.”
At the 85 minute mark, freshman Caitlin Hepworth contributed the final goal of the match, when she connected on a corner kick by Danielle Jones. It was the first career goal for the Saratoga Springs, Utah native.
Eastern recorded a season-high 24 shots and nine corner kicks. Walker also recorded a personal season high in 2012 with eight saves in 90 minutes between the pipes.
“I thought we did really well and I am happy with our performance,” said Hageage. “Now we just need to tighten some things up for Northern Colorado. We know they are going to come at us hard. They are a physical team and are well organized.”
The Eagles will remain at home for their next match against defending regular-season champ Northern Colorado. The contest is set for Sunday (Oct. 7) at 11 a.m. in Cheney, Wash.