Eagles have busy week, play Eastern Oregon, Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis
The Eastern Washington University women's soccer has a busy week of traveling and playing, as the team will play three contests in three different cities, wrapping up with a home game on Sunday (Sept. 13).
The Eagles will first make a trip across the state to Camas, Wash., and will take on Eastern Oregon there at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 9). The Mountaineers are 0-1 after falling to Northwest Nazarene 3-2 on Aug. 29.
After flying the California, the team will then play Cal State Bakersfield at 5 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 11). The Roadrunners are 3-3 after defeating Cal Poly 2-1 on Sunday (Sept. 6).
The team then returns home and will play host to UC Davis at noon on Sunday. The Aggies are 3-1-1 and most recently beat Cal State Bakersfield 5-0 on Friday (Sept. 4). UC Davis will play at Montana on Thursday (Sept. 10) prior to making the trip to Cheney.
The Eagles have never played Eastern Oregon, Cal State Bakersfield or UC Davis.
Eastern is coming off a 0-2 week which saw the team take 1-0 and 2-1 leads over UTEP before falling 3-2 in double overtime before playing well in a 2-0 loss to Gonzaga.
Sparks Named Big Sky Offensive POW
Brittany Sparks was rewarded for an outstanding performance in the team's 4-1 win over McNeese State on Aug. 29 with Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week accolades.
She scored two of Eastern's four goals, tying a school record for goals in a game.
Sparks also helped the team to a goal total that has only been surpassed twice in EWU history, once in a 5-0 win over Lamar on Aug. 31, 2007, and once in a 6-0 victory over NAIA member Carroll College on Oct. 11, 1997.
In fact, Sparks scored in three straight contests, as she tickled the twine in each of the last two games of the 2008 campaign.
Her initial goal against the Cowgirls came in the 25th minute and earned EWU a 2-0 advantage. She took a pass from Whitney Brannan and tucked the ball just inside the left post.
Then, in the 84th minute, she scored Eastern's fourth goal of the contest when she received a pass from Chelsey Hannesson and beat the goalkeeper from seven yards out.
Sparks is the first Eagle to earn Offensive POW honors since Abby Jensen was awarded the accolades on Oct. 1, 2007.
The Eagles poured in four goals, tied for its third-highest scoring output in history, in defeating McNeese State 4-1 on Aug. 29.
Brittany Sparks tickled the twine twice, scoring in the 25th and 84th minutes. The junior entered 2009 with three career goals and had in fact scored in her third straight game, having tallied scores in each of the final two contests of the 2008 season.
The only time Eastern Washington had ever scored more than four goals in a game came on Aug. 31, 2007, in a 5-0 win over Lamar and on Oct. 11, 1997, in a 6-0 victory over NAIA member Carroll College.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first when Mandy Cheney was taken down in the box, and Kirsten Fausko slotted home the ensuing penalty kick, the sophomore's first career goal.
Sparks' initial goal of the day came when she took a pass from Whitney Brannan and tucked the ball just inside the left post.
Then, McNeese State cut its deficit in half with a perfectly-placed and timed pass from Lauren LaLanne hit Sarah Lowdon, who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper 25 yards from goal before scoring.
Brannan then got on the scoreboard when she also hit a ball that nicked the crossbar, this time the underside, before hitting pay dirt. That goal came as a result of a scramble in the box following an Eastern shot attempt and was scored in the 51st minute.
Sparks scored her second goal, and Eastern's fourth, in the 84th minute when she took a pass from Chelsey Hannesson and beat the goalkeeper from seven yards out.
The Eagles then scored twice in a 3-2 double-overtime loss to UTEP on Sept. 3.
In fact, a year ago the 2008 squad took seven games to reach six total goals, something this year's team achieved in just three games.
Also, the 2009 team has scored 2+ goals in a game twice, a feat last year's squad only achieved twice.
The Eagles have been very accurate in their shot taking, as the team ranks second-to-last in the league in shots per game (8.25), but are second in goals per game (1.50).
In the UTEP contest, O'Friel was able to hit pay dirt for the first time since 2007 when she took a cross from Brannan and converted from five yards out.
The team's second goal of the contest came when Brittney Doran nailed a header past UTEP's goalkeeper. The assist on that goal came from a well-placed corner kick from Chelsey Hannesson.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
In the Big Sky Coaches Preseason Poll, Weber State was selected first and was followed, in order, by Northern Arizona, Sacramento State, Montana, Portland State, Northern Colorado, Idaho State and Eastern Washington.