Sparks becomes first Eagle in history to each 10-goal mark in single season
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team had a hard-fought 1-1 double-overtime tie with Portland State on Friday afternoon (Oct. 16). The host Eagles moved to 2-0-1 in Big Sky Conference play with the result and remain tied for first place with Sacramento State (2-0-1 BSC).
The Eagles (5-6-2) and Hornets (7-3-4) will now play to break that tie for the top spot, as Eastern's final regular-season home game of 2009 is against Sacramento State at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 18).
The result allowed the Eagles to move to 3-0-2 in their last five games, the longest unbeaten run in school history. The mark had been four-game stretch entering today, previously accomplished from Sept. 18-Oct. 2, 2005, and Oct. 8-22, 2004.
Brittany Sparks once again extended her school-record goal total with her 10th of the season. The score was also the 13th of the junior's career, and she now trails the career goal mark by just one (Cyeeta Mott had 14 from 2004-07). Today's score came at the 34:59 mark.
As is the case with many of Sparks' goals, she received a 15-yard pass from midfield and then took the ball 25 yards from goal, sped towards the goalkeeper before dribbling around her to score into the now-empty net from six yards out. The nicely-placed pass was courtesy of Brittney Doran.
"It is great that we are getting through balls to Brittany, but we cannot keep doing it because we are very predictable (when we do so)," head coach George Hageage said. "We also need to find other ways to score."
Portland State (7-6-2, 1-1-1 BSC) would tie the score at 89:18 when a shot by Michelle Hlasnik ricocheted off the right post to Toni Carnovale, whose quick, reactive shot skipped along the ground, past Eastern's goalkeeper and into the net.
Each team also had a number of scoring opportunities late.
In the 84th minute, goalkeeper Lisa Dimak had a nice leaping save of a shot from 25 yards out by Nathalie Wollmann. Whitney Brannan had a shot from 25 yards out in the 84th minute that bounced off the top netting and out of play.
Eastern's best scoring opportunity in the overtime periods came in the 95th minute. At that time, Sparks crossed the ball to Lacey Schreiner whose header from five yards out went just over the cross bar.
Two Eagles had five shots apiece today, Sparks and Brannan. Dimak had seven saves in the contest.
"I thought we played fairly well in the first half, but Portland State is a really good team and, when they needed to get a goal back, they put a lot of pressure on us," Hageage said. "Credit goes to them for getting that tying goal."
Eastern Washington now looks ahead to facing Sacramento State on Sunday.