Sept. 30, 2008
The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team wraps up the non-conference portion of its schedule with short road trips to Washington State and Seattle University this weekend.
The Eagles take on the Cougars at 3 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 3) before heading west to play Seattle University at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 5).
Eastern Washington has improved its quality of play over the last few weeks, having gone 2-1-1 in its last four contests.
Starting its quality stretch was a championship at the SDSU Invitational where the Eagles defeated the host South Dakota State squad 2-1 before tying North Dakota State 1-1.
Then last weekend, the Eagles defeated Idaho 1-0 in a home contest played on Friday (Sept. 26) before falling on Sunday (Sept. 28) to rival Gonzaga on the road in a heartbreaker, 2-1 in double overtime.
“I’m really proud of all of our players,” head coach George Hageage said. “They played a heck of a game in terms of energy and emotion against Gonzaga after having that win over Idaho. We are heading in the right direction, getting better and better.”
Both Washington State and Seattle University possess 5-2-3 records and have no further games before taking on the Eagles.
The Cougars have won three straight contests, all shutouts. Those victories came over Seattle University, 2-0, Gonzaga, 1-0, and Idaho, 2-0.
Seattle University has won two consecutive games, having defeated Fresno State 2-1 and Cal State Bakersfield 2-0 most recently, both on the road.
“We’re looking to put together two halves against Washington State and get our first win over a Pac-10 team,” Hageage said. (the Eagles are 0-14-0 all-time versus teams from that conference)
“Seattle University will be an interesting match. They have a good team and have done well against Big Sky Conference teams (1-0-1 record against those schools).”
Following this weekend’s contests, the Eagles begin Big Sky play with a contest at Idaho State on Oct. 9.
Lauryn Shoots up Goal-Scoring Charts
Lauryn Koelzer scored both of Eastern Washington’s goals over the weekend (the winner in the 1-0 victory over Idaho and the dramatic game-tying score in the 2-1 double-overtime loss at Gonzaga), moving her season total to four and pushing her goals per game average (0.44) to second in the Big Sky Conference.
The senior is also already tied for fifth in EWU school history for goals in a season and her career sum of seven (done in less than two years by the Walla Walla Community College transfer) is just one off of entering the top five of that school-record category.
Blessard Leads Big Sky Conference
Goalkeeper Jessica Blessard is setting the pace among Big Sky Conference players in save percentage (.878), while she also ranks second in goals against average (1.01) and third in saves per game (6.00).
Among all NCAA Division I players, she is 22nd in save percentage and 44th in saves per game.
Also, now that she has earned the minimum 1,000 minutes played to enter the career goals against average school-record list (1,067 minutes), she inserted herself into the top slot with an average of 0.93 (second is Tiera Como with 1.44; she played with the Eagles from 2003-06).
Jensen Climbs Goal-Scoring Chart
Abby Jensen has scored nine goals in her Eagle career, which is good for third on the Eastern Washington all-time goal-scoring list. She trails Jennie Summers (2002-05), who had 11, and Cyeeta Mott (2004-07), who has the record of 14.
Eagles Win the Title
Eastern Washington played the best soccer of the four teams at the SDSU Invitational, contested from Sept. 12-14, to claim the title. The Eagles defeated the hosts, South Dakota State, by a 2-1 score before tying North Dakota State 1-1. Iowa State was the other team to take part in the competition.
Four Eagles earned All-Tournament accolades, including Jocelyn Bement, Jessica Blessard, Lillian Bourret and Lauryn Koelzer. Bement was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
April Scores Goal on First Collegiate Shot
Midfielder April Coffin could not have gotten her collegiate career off to a better start, as the freshman scored a goal on her first-ever shot.
In the 31st minute of Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Louisiana-Lafayette on Aug. 29, she blocked a clearing attempt, chased down the loose ball and tapped it into the empty net to give EWU a 1-0 advantage.
The goal came in just her second collegiate game.
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.