Eastern earns first victory over Boise State in school history
The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team was not fazed by the fact it was missing an experienced center midfielder, or that it had not won a match against Boise State in the 11 years the two teams have competed against one another.
Instead, the red and white came out on the field on fire, handing the Broncos a 3-1 loss on Sunday (Sept. 9) at the Viking Classic at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore. Eastern’s goals came from sophomore Cassie Black and junior Siara Byers.
The Eagles put pressure on Boise State early, with two shots within the first three minutes of play. Senior Kasey McNeill sent one wide at the 19-second mark, then two minutes later, Black ricocheted one off the post.
In the 20th minute of play, Black made good on a scoring opportunity when she put Eastern on the board with her first goal of the season, and the seventh of her career.
The Eagles did not let up on the Broncos, even with the lead in hand. Fourteen minutes later, senior midfielder Brittney Conway connected with Byers with a pass into the box. Byers collected the ball and found the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
In the second half, the Broncos were awarded a penalty kick after a foul was called on Eastern in the box. The kick was taken by Shannon Schueren, but saved by senior goalkeeper Jamie Walker. However, the ball was rebounded out and Schueren was able to control it, sending it back into the goal to bring the score to 2-1.
Despite the slight breakdown, Walker gave a strong showing throughout 90 minutes in goal, recording six saves for the Eags.
“Jamie started the game and did a great job,” said head coach George Hageage. “She looked really solid and played like we knew she could.”
With only three seconds left on the clock, Black once again stepped up for her team. The Battle Ground, Wash., native got hold of a loose ball in the box and sent it home for a final score of 3-1.
“Cassie played really well and held together the entire game,” said Hageage. “She worked hard and deserved both of the goals she scored.”
According to Hageage, the plan of attack for this match was to shift players around on offense to find better scoring options, and the effort was a success.
“What we saw in this game is the same level of play we have been generating, but we were able to finish this time,” said Hageage.
Substantial contributions were also seen in the midfield from Conway, Torri Sitzman, and Katy Allen.
“Our midfield is doing well,” said Hageage. “With the recent loss of Lauren Jacobsen to a knee injury and Marianne Johnson who tore her ACL in the spring, we were left with no center midfielders. A lot of credit goes to the players who have stepped up in the middle because none of them had experience as an attacking-mid prior to this.”
While most attention was drawn to goals being scored up top, Eastern’s strong defensive line did its part to keep Boise State out of Eagle territory. The Broncos were called offsides on six occasions, thanks to the diligence of the Eagle defense.
“Boise State was pressing to get the equalizer and trying to run hard at us,” said Hageage. “They played a lot of through balls and found themselves offsides numerous times.”
The Broncos were also awarded six corner kicks, but were unable to find a shooting opportunity on any of them.
“I’m really proud of our team. They have hung together and played well,” said Hageage. “We are not doing anything different than what we have done all season, but we are finishing, and that makes all the difference.”
After five straight games on the road, the Eagles return home to face Idaho on Friday (Sept. 14) at EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.