Despite a career-high 11 saves for Jamie Walker, Eastern returns to Cheney with 0-2 mark to start the Big Sky season
The Eastern Washington University soccer team struggled to put together an effective offense on Sunday (Oct. 10), as Sacramento State handed Eastern its second-straight conference loss of the year with a 1-0 decision at Hornet Soccer Field in Sacramento, Calif. The Eagles drop to 0-11-1 on the year and 0-2 in the BSC, while Sac State improves its overall mark to 5-6-1 and remains undefeated in conference at 2-0.
The Hornets dominated possession in the first half, hammering 19 total shots, nine of which were on frame. Sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Walker collected four saves in the first 10 minutes of the contest, including back-to-back stops on shots fired by the Sac State's leading scorer, Leah Larot.
In the 35th minute, the Hornets managed to sneak one by the EWU defense, after sophomore Jordan Carlberg sent a short cross into Caitlin Pulver, who was standing just a few feet off the goal line. Pulver connected on her shot to the upper corner to give Sac State a 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles, who were utilizing a 4-3-3 offense for much of the first half, switched their formation to a 4-5-1 to start the second period. With the new look, Eastern was able to better disrupt the Hornets attack, but the Red and White still struggled to create any offensive pressure of their own.
"We had to move some people around because injuries from earlier in the week and weekend left us shorthanded," said EWU head coach George Hageage. "A few of the girls who can normally create opportunities for us up front were forced to stay back and defend, and we just couldn't get anything going."
"Sac State is a definitely a strong team with a lot of speed up top. They have forwards who know how to hold the ball, but I was frustrated with our inability to play with urgency, especially in some of the returners, who know how important each game in the conference season is."
Eastern managed to keep Sac State off the board in the second half, but their chances for an equalizer were quite limited and the Hornets managed to get away with the 1-0 victory. Walker ended the game with a career-high 11 saves.
The Eagles will return to Cheney for its next two conference matchups, as they take on the Idaho State Bengals on Friday (Oct. 15) at 4 p.m. and the Wildcats of Weber State on Sunday (Oct. 17) at noon at the EWU Sports and Recreation playing fields.