Aug. 18, 2006
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team opens its 2006 season with a pair of games in the Midwest.
After games at Northern Illinois (Aug. 25) and DePaul (Aug. 27), Eastern plays at Inland Northwest rival Gonzaga on Saturday, Sept. 2. The next day, Eastern plays its first home game of the season against Birmingham-Southern at 10:30 a.m. at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center.
Four starters and a total of seven letter-winners were lost from a hard-luck Eagle squad that finished 2-3-1 in the Big Sky and 4-11-3 overall with a schedule that included a pair of nationally-ranked teams and a total of five teams which participated in the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern's schedule in 2006 could prove to be just as challenging. The Eagles will play 10 of 19 matches at home, including four Big Sky Conference opponents.
"Just like every year, we could lose to everybody on this schedule but we could also probably beat everybody on this schedule," Hageage said. "I am going to get more gray hairs. I think adding Northern Colorado to the Big Sky helps us this year because we have four home games in our conference, and that is really the key with soccer. It is really important to win four games now (to advance to the league tournament) so hopefully that will really help us out. And we wanted to play some teams out of region early in the season. Hopefully that will give us some momentum as we get back to the West Coast."
Eastern plays Pacific 10 Conference opponents Southern California on the road and Oregon at home, and will make a road trip to Illinois.
"We have a pretty tough schedule again," Hageage continued. "Any time you play Pac 10 teams that always increases your schedule strength. And Nevada crushed us (4-0) down at their place last year. So we are really looking forward to having them back at our place and it would be nice to get a little revenge. They are a very good team and had another good recruiting class. Gonzaga is another tough game for us like it is every year, and Long Beach State is very good. Those are probably the five teams that are going to be really tough for us."
Coming Up (*Big Sky Conference):
- W. Soccer - Friday, August 25 - at Northern Illinois - 1 p.m.
- W. Soccer - Sunday, August 27 - at DePaul - 10 a.m.
- W. Soccer - Saturday, September 2 - at Gonzaga - 12 p.m.
- W. Soccer - Friday, September 3 - Birmingham-Southern - 10:30 a.m.
- 4-11-3, 2-3-1 (Big Sky Conference)
Comments from Head Coach George Hageage Jr.:
- On Pre-Season Practices Thus Far: "With 22 new players mixed with our 20 old players, it's been incredibly competitive in the pre-season. They are really playing hard at every practice, and I'm very excited for our upcoming season."