Eastern Washington enters week with school-record six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2)
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team takes its first (and only) extended road trip of the Big Sky Conference season this weekend, playing Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona.
The Eagles face the Bears at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday (Oct. 23) before meeting NAU at noon on Sunday. (Oct. 25).
Eastern moved into sole possession of first place in the league (3-0-1 BSC) with a 1-0 win over Sacramento State on Sunday (Oct. 18).
The Eagles (6-6-2) now close out the league campaign with three road games, the two this weekend and then Oct. 30 versus Montana.
Eastern is riding a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2), the longest in school history. The previous record of four was set by the 2004 team (Oct. 8-22) and tied by the 2005 squad (Sept. 18-Oct. 2).
The Eagles have impressively seen their defense step up the last couple weeks after allowing 13 goals in four games from Sept. 13-27. Since commencing Big Sky play on Oct. 8, the Eagles have allowed just one goal in four games and 380 minutes of game time.
In fact, Eastern Washington is leading the league in goals against average in Big Sky games by a wide margin (0.24 compared to Portland State and Sacramento State, who each have 0.95 averages).
Northern Colorado is looking for its first Big Sky win of the season on Friday, as the Bears (4-9-1, 0-4 BSC) have lost five straight overall.
The Eagles and Northern Colorado have split their four all-time meetings, 2-2. Most recently, Eastern took a 1-0 decision from the Bears in Cheney on Oct. 26, 2008.
Northern Arizona has had a back-and-forth Big Sky campaign so far and will bring a 2-2 league mark into a Friday game versus Montana.
The Lumberjacks (7-7-1) had an impressive non-conference win on Sept. 25, winning at New Mexico 2-1. The Lobos had entered that game 8-0-2 and are currently 11-3-2.
Eastern will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak in the series with the Lumberjacks. The last EWU victory over Northern Arizona was by a 1-0 score on the Eastern campus on Oct. 22, 2004.
Hannesson Named Co-Defensive POW
Senior defender Chelsey Hannesson was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week by the Big Sky Conference after helping the Eagles to a 1-0-1 week and into sole possession of first place in the league standings just past the midway point of the Big Sky campaign.
On Sunday (Oct. 18), the senior did an outstanding job helping the defensive line hold Sacramento State to just two shots on goal in a 1-0 defeat of the Hornets. That win broke a tie for the top spot that those two teams had shared entering the weekend. She was also pivotal in holding Portland State to just one tally in 110 minutes of action in a 1-1 double-overtime with the Vikings on Friday (Oct. 16).
For the weekend, EWU's defense allowed just that one Portland State goal in 200 minutes of action against two of the top four teams in the league standings. The Eagles are now 3-0-1 in Big Sky play and have a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2), the longest in school history.
Hannesson became the second Eagle in as many weeks to earn defensive honors from the league office. Goalkeeper Lisa Dimak was honored a week ago after posting a pair of shutouts in Eastern's first two league games of the season, 1-0 wins over Weber State and Idaho State.
Prior to this impressive two-week run on the award, the last Eagle to earn Defensive POW accolades was Jessica Blessard, who was named Co-POW on Oct. 29, 2007.
Sharing this week's award with Hannesson is Portland State's Toni Carnovale.
Eagles Raise Money to Fight Breast Cancer
On Sunday (Oct. 18), the soccer team presented a check for more than $600 to secretary Reggie Brulotte and fundraising chair Kelly Stanicar of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. The team sold pink cookies over the previous couple weeks to help raise money to fight breast cancer.
"We are really grateful for Mostly Muffins and their generosity in donating the cookies, and we feel this is a great opportunity for our program to give back to our community," assistant coach Tamara Hageage said. "Breast cancer has touched virtually everyone in our program, and we are all very excited to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation."
Quartet of Seniors Honored Sunday
Prior to the earliest Senior Day in school history Sunday (Oct. 18), four seniors, all four-year letterwinners, were honored: Mandy Cheney, Brittney Doran, Chelsey Hannesson and Morgan O'Friel.
Cheney has contributed significantly to Eastern's successes the past four years. In 2007, she was named the team's Most Improved Player. That year, she scored in a 5-0 win over Lamar to help EWU to its biggest win ever, 5-0.
Doran started her career with All-Big Sky second team accolades in 2005. She was also team Defensive Most Valuable Player in 2007. Doran attained Big Sky All-Academic accolades every year she has been on the team.
Hannesson earned All-Big Sky second team honors in 2008 after receiving honorable mention accolades as a sophomore. She was also named the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player in 2008.
O'Friel has twice earned Big Sky All-Academic accolades, in 2005 and 2007, and received the team's Iron Eagle Award in 2007. She, like Doran, was a member of the 2005 team that advanced to the Big Sky semifinals.
Dimak Named Big Sky Defensive POW
Lisa Dimak was named the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week after the goalkeeper posted a pair of shutouts to help the Eagles to a 2-0 Big Sky record, its best start ever.
Most notably was a save she had in the 78th minute of a road win over Weber State on Oct. 8. That kept the Wildcats out of the net, and the Eagles earned their first of 1-0 victories that day. It also marked Eastern's first win in eight tries over the Wildcats in Ogden, Utah.
Three days after that, she helped blank Idaho State in another 1-0 win. The Bengals had just one shot on goal that day.
For the week, Dimak faced 38 shots and had 11 saves.
Sparks Breaks Record, Eyes More
Brittany Sparks has already broken the school record for goals in a single season with 10 (previous mark of seven was set by Lauryn Koelzer in 2008). Sparks' seventh and eighth scores both came in a dominating 5-1 win over South Dakota on Sept. 27.
The record breaker was a memorable score in and of itself. She sped with the ball 40 yards from goal before racing left to right across the box, beating three defenders and the goalkeeper to create open space in front of her and then slotting the ball home.
She has now scored two goals in a game twice this season, having also done so in a 4-1 win over McNeese State on Aug. 29. That feat tied that school record.
After both of those performances, she was named Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the first Eagle to earn that award since Abby Jensen accomplished the feat on Oct. 1, 2007.
Sparks has 20 points this year as well as three game-winning goals, both of which set school marks, as well.
The junior is now setting her sights on career records. Her 13 goals in her career are second on that list, just one behind the mark currently held by Cyeeta Mott (2004-07).
She has 29 points, which are second on that list, six behind Mott's record of 35.
This year, Sparks ranks 27th nationally in goals per game (0.71) and leads the Big Sky in that category. She is also 50th nationally in points per game (1.43) and leads the league in that category, as well.
Let's Score Some Goals
Eastern Washington is one of the highest-scoring teams in the country, as evidenced by its 1.57 goals per game placing the team 105th among NCAA Division I teams and placing second in the Big Sky Conference in that category.
Twice this year, the team has scored four or more goals in a game. Eastern's 5-1 win over South Dakota on Sept. 27 tied that school record (last achieved in a 5-0 win over Lamar on Aug. 31, 2007), while the Eagles had four in a 4-1 defeat of McNeese State on Aug. 29.
The Eagles have scored 22 goals this year, just six shy of the school record of 28 that was set in 2007.
Three times has an Eagle scored two goals in a game this year, as Brittany Sparks accomplished the feat twice (in the McNeese State and South Dakota games) and Whiney Brannan did so once (in a 3-0 defeat of Eastern Oregon on Sept. 9).
The two goals by those players tie the school record, which has now been achieved a total of 13 times.
However, the Eagles have had some outstanding defensive performances since the commencement of Big Sky play, as Eastern Washington leads the league in goals allowed in league games (0.25).
Records Falling by the Wayside
Just past the half-way point of the 2009 season, the Eagles have already seen major school records broken with more expected to fall in the upcoming weeks.
In fact, a total of nine records have been broken or tied so far this season.
For a single season, the goal-scoring record has fallen (Brittany Sparks has 10), as has the marks for most points (Sparks has 20) and game-winning goals (Sparks has three).
Also, the assists record is close to going down, as a trio of Eagles is one away from Cyeeta Mott's 2007 total of four. Chelsey Hannesson, Morgan O'Friel and Whitney Brannan have three apiece.
Meanwhile, Brannan is climbing the single-season points list, as her 13 tallies place her fourth, just seven behind Sparks' record.
In the career portion of the record book, Sparks is nearing the goal record of 14 (Mott, 2004-07), as she has 13 scores in her career. Sparks is currently second in points (29), as Mott also holds that mark with 35.
O'Friel has five career helpers, which ties for third on that chart, two off the school mark.
Sparks has four game-winning goals in her career, one from Mott's record of five.
In a single game, Sparks has scored two goals twice this year (versus McNeese State and South Dakota) and Brannan has done so once (Eastern Oregon), tying that school mark, which has now been attained 13 times.
Lisa Dimak is also only two shutouts away from that single-season record. She is currently tied for third with five.
For a team, Eastern Washington's 5-1 win over South Dakota on Sept. 27 tied that school mark, which was originally set in a 5-0 defeat of Lamar on Aug. 31, 2007.
The Eagles are also currently on a school-record six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2). Eastern also won three straight in the midst of that stretch, tying that mark.