Aug. 26, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team looks to bounce back from an opening-season loss when it travels to the Lone Star State to take part in the Miner Classic in El Paso, Texas.
The Eagles (0-1-0) will first face Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday (Aug. 29). The Ragin’ Cajuns had a tough start to their season, as well, as the team fell to Southeastern Louisiana 5-0 in the team’s first home opener in the nine years of the program.
Then on Sunday (Aug. 31), Eastern Washington takes on Texas State. The Bobcats took care of St. Mary’s (Texas) by a 3-0 count in their season-opening contest.
“We are not focused on Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State too much in terms of what they are going to bring,” head coach George Hageage said.
“We got off to a rough start in Boise and are continuing to work out the kinks we have, working on a new system. We’ll also try some people in different positions, as we work on figuring out what our strongest lineup is.”
Eastern hit a rough patch at the beginning of its 2008 campaign, as the Eagles fell to Boise State by a 4-0 score on Sunday (Aug. 24). The Broncos, who tied for second in last year’s Western Athletic Conference standings, outshot EWU 25-7 in their win.
The Eagles are devoted to turning around its early-season form and improve on its record-win season of 2007 (9-8-0) as well as return to the Big Sky Championship for the first time since 2005.
The Eagles have 8-of-11 starters and 12-of-17 letterwinners returning from last year’s squad.
The Eastern Washington Eagles are coming off a remarkable season that was the best in school history on many levels.
Most impressively, EWU posted its first winning season (9-8-0) since the inaugural year of the program, 1997. That squad went 5-4-3 against a schedule that included six junior colleges.
The 2007 Eagles narrowly missed qualifying for the Big Sky Conference Championship, finishing in a fifth-place tie with a 3-4-0 league mark.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
Despite coming off of its best overall record in school history, tying for fifth in the Big Sky Conference standings and returning 8-of-11 starters from the 2007 team, the Eagles were selected eighth in the league’s preseason poll.
Sacramento State, the defending league champion, placed first in the poll with 45 points and five first-place votes. The Hornets were followed, in order, by Northern Colorado (37, 2), Weber State (37, 1), Northern Arizona (31), Portland State (26), Idaho State (24), Montana (14) and Eastern Washington (10).
Playing for a Championship
The Big Sky Conference’s regular-season champion will play host to this year’s Championship the first week of November. Depending on the host team’s preference, the semifinals will be played on either Nov. 6 or 7, and the title contest will take place on either Nov. 8 or 9.
Last year, Sacramento State won the regular-season crown with a 4-0-3 league record and then claimed the tournament championship with 2-1 and 3-0 wins over Portland State and Northern Colorado, respectively.
The winner earns the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which will commence on Nov. 14.