A strike from Mikayla Anderson late in the first half proved to be the difference as the Eastern Washington women's soccer team saw visiting Gonzaga escape with a 1-0 victory in its season opener Friday, Aug. 23, at the Sports & Recreation Soccer Field.
EWU drops to 0-1-0 on the young season while the Bulldogs improve to 1-0-0 with the win.
Junior Haley Stading got the first crack at goal, putting a shot on frame in the third minute. The Eagles remained on the attack, earning a corner kick two minutes later but the Bulldogs' defense held strong. After a second corner kick, junior Kayla Sutter hit a chip shot that forced Gonzaga's goalkeeper to backtrack and make a fingertip save late in the 11th minute.
Gonzaga responded with consecutive shots in the 13th and 14th minutes, respectively, the latter of which was blocked, preventing the Bulldogs from breaking through. Junior Cassie Black forced GU's keeper to make another save in the 24th minute, keeping things deadlocked.
The visitors were finally able to break through in the 41st minute after Anderson received a ball from Sarah Carter down the right side of the pitch. Anderson took one touch and put a shot across the cage that Schwery was unable to get to, giving the Bulldogs a one-goal advantage heading into halftime.
Eastern was unable to get much going in the second half as Gonzaga dug in its heels defensively. The Eagles turned up their pressure late in the match, however, as Black made a nice turn at the top of the box and fired a shot just over the cross bar in the 83rd minute before EWU earned another corner three minutes later.
The Eagles' last-gasp chance came with mere seconds remaining after the Bulldogs committed a foul at the top of their own penalty box. Stading lined up to take the free kick, but her ball was unable to get through GU's wall of defenders as time expired.
Gonzaga outshot Eastern, 12-8, but the Eagles but three shots on target to the Bulldogs' two.
EWU returns to action this Sunday, Aug. 25, when Seattle comes to Cheney for a 1 p.m. kick-off.