Eagles Battle Roadrunners to 1-1 Draw in First Outing of 2010

Brannan earns sixth-career goal in Eastern’s double-overtime draw

After 90 minutes of regulation soccer and two overtime periods, neither Eastern Washington nor Cal State Bakersfield was able to break a 1-1 deadlock on Friday (Aug. 27) at Main Soccer Field in Bakersfield, Calif. The Eagles open their 2010 campaign at 0-0-1, while CSU-Bakersfield extends its record to 0-1-1.

Although Eastern was not quite able to avenge either of the losses to the Roadrunners from the previous two seasons, the Eagles played a solid 120 minutes of soccer, holding Cal State Bakersfield to just one goal in 27 shots.

“I was really proud of the team’s effort tonight,” said EWU head coach George Hageage. “Not being able to play a preseason scrimmage hurt us a little, as we were not at full game pace. Bakersfield came out with a lot of speed, but I was rather impressed with our ability to handle the tempo in light of that. We got better and better as the match went on, and actually had the ball in their end for most of the overtime periods. One thing I can tell about this team already is they will not back down. Each and every player fought hard to the end, which is truly commendable.”

The Eagles got on the scoreboard first (19:14) after a well-delivered throw in from Sara Byrne put Whitney Brannan in a favorable scoring position. Brannan made a swift turn, beat two defenders on the outside and then fired a shot to the near post, which flew past Cal State Bakersfield’s goalkeeper Kym Gausie. The goal was the sixth in Brannan’s career, while Byrne was credited with her third-career assist.

Eastern defended its goal throughout the remainder of the first half, but in the 49th minute, Veronica Ramos of Cal State Bakersfield sent a cross to the far post, which freshman Tyler Shirk one-touched into the net to tie the game at 1-1.

The unyielding defense of EWU was enough to hold the Roadrunners through two overtime periods, resulting in the 1-1 draw. Eastern took a total of seven shots, five of which were off the foot of Brannan. Cal State Bakersfield tallied a total 27 shots, 11 of which were on frame. Senior Lisa Dimak and sophomore Jamie Walker split time in goal for Eastern, as both Eagles collected five saves in the first outing of 2010.

The Eagles will be back in action on Sunday (Aug. 29) when they take on Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. pacific time.

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