With Big Sky tournament field already set, Eagles will conclude season on Friday with "Senior Day"
The Eastern Washington University soccer team will wrap up its 2010 campaign on Friday (Oct. 29) when it plays Montana at 3:30 p.m. at the EWU Sports and Recreation playing fields in Cheney, Wash. Friday's contest will also be Senior Day, as five members of the EWU soccer team, Lisa Dimak, Hannah Kreminski, Lyndsey Martin, Lacey Schreiner and Brittany Sparks, will be playing in their final game for the Red and White.
With Portland State and Sacramento State each recording a win last weekend, and Eastern falling in both its contests, the Eagles dropped out of tournament contention for this 2010 season. Northern Arizona clinched the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the tournament with its narrow overtime victory against the Eagles, while Northern Colorado, Portland State and Sac State also clinched berths to the semis, with seeds to be determined after this weekend's games.
Eastern is currently in fifth place in the Big Sky with a 2-4 record. If the Eagles beat Montana on Friday, they would maintain that status as the No. 5 team in the league, regardless of what happens in the other conference matchups. Idaho State, Weber State and Montana all have only one win on their records heading into the final weekend of play.
The Eagles and Grizzlies will meet on Friday for the 14th time in history. Although Montana holds a slight 7-5-1 edge in the all-time series, Eastern has been the victor in the last three meetings, and four of the last five. In 2009, the Eagles beat the Griz 1-0 in Missoula to clinch a spot in the conference tourney for the first time since 2005.
The Grizzlies are led this season by senior forward Kaitlyn Heinsohn, who has four goals, two of which were game winners. Sophomore Erin Craig has two goals on the season, while senior Frankie Brady and freshman India Watne lead the assists category with two apiece. Montana has struggled to put the ball in the net this year, as they are last in the Big Sky statistical rankings with a 0.41 goals per game average. The Grizzlies are also at the bottom of list in shots, averaging 8.12 per game.
Although Eastern is not far ahead of Montana in both categories, as it ranks seventh in goals per game (0.88) and seventh in shots (9.81), the Eagles hope to use home-field advantage and the power of senior day to close out their season with a win.
- 2009 All-Big Sky Honorable Mention Team
- Two-time Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 12, 2009 and Nov. 2, 2009)
- Recorded four shutouts in 2009, which is second on EWU's all-time single season records list and fourth in the career record book.
- 2009 All-Big Sky Honorable Mention Team
- Two-time Big Sky All-Academic Team (2008 and 2009)
- Has played in 54 games for the Eagles as a member of their defensive unit, helping the team record eight shutouts since the start of her career in 2007.
- Has taken 21 shots and tallied one assist
- Selected as one of three co-captains for the 2010 season
- 2008 All-Big Sky Honorable Mention Team
- Has played in 51 games for the Eagles on the defensive end of the ball, helping the team record nine shutouts since the start of her career.
- Has tallied one goal and one assist in her career, and has taken seven total shots
- Served as co-captain for the 2010 campaign
- Played in 50 games for EWU since transferring from Hawaii-Hilo in 2008.
- Has taken 29 shots in her career and tallied on assist
- As of right now, Sparks will leave Eastern as the all-time record holder in career goals (17) and career points (41). She is tied with two other players for the career record in assists (7) and is among the top five in the EWU record books in games played, shots and game-winning goals.
- Sparks is also Eastern's single-season record holder in goals (11), points (22) and game-winning goals (3), which she achieved during her junior campaign in 2009. She is currently tied for the record in assists with four tallied this season.
- Two-time All-Big Sky selection, earning first-team honors in 2009 and second-team honors in 2008.
- Two-time BSC Player of the Week honoree (Aug. 31, 2009 and Sept. 28, 2009)
- Three-time Big Sky All-Academic team member (2006, 2008 and 2009)
- Named Eastern's Scholar Athlete of the Month for October 2009
- One of three co-captains for the 2010 campaign
Eagle News & Notes
Eastern's 1-2 Punch - Whitney Brannan and Brittany Sparks have accounted for 11 of Eastern's 13 goals this season, which includes six direct hookups between the two talented forwards. Brannan has assisted on two of Sparks' three goals this year, while Sparks has had the helper on four of Brannan's eight tallies in 2010. Both players are products of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash. Sparks was a 2006 graduate, while Brannan earned her diploma in 2008. Earlier this season, Sparks took over sole possession of Eastern's career-goals record, as she now has 17 total in her career. Brannan, who has already scored eight goals in 2010, is closing in on Sparks' record though, as she has 14 total in just three seasons with the Eagles. Brannan is tied with Cyeeta Mott as the second-leading goal scorer in Eastern history. Brannan and Sparks are also 1-2 on Eastern's single-season points and goals list. Sparks owns the two records with 11 goals and 22 points, which she earned during the 2009 campaign, but Brannan is not far behind with eight goals and 19 points already tallied in 2010.
Walker Wins POW Honors - Sophomore Jamie Walker was tabbed as the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week after a superior performance between the pipes in Eastern's first two conference victories, and first victories overall this season, against Big Sky foes Idaho State and Weber State on Oct. 15 and 17, respectively. The Graham, Wash., native earned her first-career shutout against ISU, which was quite a feat, as the Bengals took 22 total shots in the contest. Walker collected seven total saves in the game to help her team capture the 2-0 victory. In Eastern's game against the Weber State Wildcats (Oct. 17), Walker picked up eight saves, and allowed only one goal on 17 shots. She finished the weekend with an impressive .938 save percentage and 0.50 goals against average.
Record-Setting Sparks - Senior Brittany Sparks scored her first goal of the 2010 season against Gonzaga on Oct. 3. With that tally, the senior became the all-time leading goal scorer in Eastern Washington history with 15 career goals (she has scored two times since then as well). Prior to the game on Oct. 3, the Kennewick, Wash., native was tied with former Eagle, Cyeeta Mott, for the school record at 14, but she nabbed the title outright with her tally in the third minute of the contest. She also became the all-time leading point earner at Eastern, as she has now compiled 41 total points in her career (17 goals, 7 assists). Sparks is currently tied for the school's career-assists record, as she has seven total, four of which have come this season. In addition to owning three career records, Sparks is the school record-holder for single-season goals (11), points (22) and game winners (3), all of which she achieved during her stellar junior campaign.
Walker Grabs Double-Digit Saves in Back-to-Back Games - EWU goalkeeper Jamie Walker had had 10 or more saves in two of Eastern's last three games. Her first double-digit performance of the season came against Gonzaga (Oct. 3), when she picked up ten total saves. The Bulldogs fired 19 total shots in the second half of the game, but did not convert a single one thanks to the relentless defense exhibited by Walker. In Eastern's most recent outing against Big Sky Conference foe Sacramento State, Walker set a career-record with 11 saves in her 90 minutes of play. The Graham, Wash., native has been between the pipes for 1200:48 minutes this season, collecting 93 total saves, which is the top mark in the Big Sky Conference. She averages 5.18 saves per game, which is second in the BSC.
Brannan Tabbed as Big Sky Player of the Week - Whitney Brannan was recognized as the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week (Sept. 21) for her stellar performances in South Dakota on Sept. 17 and 19. Brannan scored four goals over the weekend, which included her first-career hat trick against South Dakota State on Sept. 19. With her three-goal performance in Brookings, S.D., Brannan broke the EWU single-game scoring record of two, which had been achieved 11 times in history, one of which was by Brannan last season. Although the Eagles fell in double-overtime in the match against SDSU., Brannan's goals kept EWU in the game, as she was able to answer every tally put up by the Jackrabbits. Brannan also notched Eastern's only goal versus South Dakota on Sept. 17. She took five total shots in that contest, three of which were on frame.
Brannan and Huff on Conference Watch List - According to TopDrawerSoccer.com, sophomore Whitney Brannan and junior Dashia Huff are among the top 20 players in the Big Sky Conference. In the most recent list, updated on Tuesday, Oct.12, Brannan was tabbed as the No. 10 player in the conference, while Huff appeared at No. 19. Brannan has scored seven goals for the Eagles this season and leads the team in total shots with 32, 17 of which have been on frame. Huff transferred to EWU this season from Walla Walla CC, where she earned NWAACC All-Star honors in 2009. Huff has started as a member of Eastern's back line in all 10 games of the 2010 season.
Hageage Added to NCAA Regional Advisory Committee - EWU head coach George Hageage was recently appointed to the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee for the Pacific Region. Hageage was nominated for the position by Big Sky Conference Associate Commissioner Ron Loghry. As a member of the committee, Hageage will provide guidance to the governing committee of NCAA Division I soccer for rankings of the top 10 teams in the Pacific Region. Hageage, who is in his 11th year at the helm of the EWU women's soccer program, is also a national staff member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, where he contributes a vote in the accredited Top 25 poll -- released each week on NSCAA.com.
Freshmen Firepower - The EWU women's soccer team has relied heavily on its freshmen contingent for valuable minutes off the bench this season. In Eastern's 2010 home openers versus Seattle (Sept. 3) and UC-Irvine (Sept. 5), two different freshman earned points for the team. Hannah Scott was credited with an assist in the game against Seattle, while Erin Bourguignon notched her first-career goal with the Eagles in the showdown with UC-Irvine. Bourguignon has taken 22 total shots this season, which ranks second on the team. Eight of her 22 shots have been on frame. Cheney native Tanya Baker has also been a constant in the Eagle lineup, as she has appeared in 10 of Eastern's 14 games thus far, including a start in the midfield versus Cal State Fullerton on Aug. 29. Freshmen Melissa Bishop and Hannah Scott, two Oregon natives, have also contributed solid minutes, as Bishop has appeared in nine games and Scott in 12.
It's a Family Affair - The Eastern Washington Eagles have a long history of "soccer sisters." This year, the team features one set of sisters in Whitney and Brianna Brannan. Throughout history, the Eagles have had three sets of twins on the team, including two at the same time. Cynita and Cyeeta Mott and Jennifer and Kim McMullen all played on the field together during the 2004 season. In addition to siblings, the EWU coaching staff is a full-family effort. Head coach George Hageage and assistant coach Tamara Hageage have been married for 10 years, while George's father, George Jr., has served as volunteer assistant coach for the last seven seasons.