October 29, 2010

Season Ends for Eagles With 1-0 Loss

Try as they might, Eagles couldn't send five seniors off with a victory as Grizzlies score lone goal in 66th minute

With its seniors getting one final chance to end their rocky 2010 season on a high note, a second-half goal by Montana held up as the Grizzlies defeated Eastern Washington University 1-0 in a Big Sky Conference women's soccer match Friday  (Oct. 29) at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center playing fields.

Although tied in shots with 14 apiece, Montana's Courtney Watson headed home a cross by Maddey Frey in the 66th minute for the only goal of the contest. Eastern senior goal keeper Lisa Dimak had five saves -- all in the second half -- as EWU ended its season 2-14-1 overall and 2-5 in the league. Montana finished 3-13-3 on the season and 2-4-1 in the Big Sky.

"That was unfortunate -- it kind of summed up our season," said Eastern head coach George Hageage. "We played well in spurts and we played pretty poor in spurts, and we just didn't finish. That's kind of been the story of this year."

Friday's contest was Senior Day for EWU, as five members of the team -- Dimak, Hannah Kreminski, Lyndsey Martin, Lacey Schreiner and Brittany Sparks -- played their final game for the Red and White.

Montana now holds an 8-5-1 edge in the all-time series, but Eastern had won 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.

After falling behind, Hageage had all his seniors in the game at the end in hopes of finding the magic that had been missing all season.

"At the end we had all our seniors out there fighting," he said. "That was a decision we made with about 15 minutes left and down 1-0 that we would throw the seniors out there and see if they could get one to fall. Unfortunately it didn't go. We lose a great group of seniors. It's just unfortunate that they had a season like this because they've done well over the course of their careers."

Friday's game ended the record-breaking career of Sparks, a 2006 graduate of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash. Sparks leaves 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.

Unfortunately, she didn't get a single shot versus the Grizzlies.

"We had some opportunities and had some shots, but their goalkeeper made a couple of good saves," added Hageage. "For whatever reason, we couldn't find Sparky at any point, which is unfortunate on senior day. She's been such a huge part of our program. I'm sorry we couldn't find the back of the net and send those five seniors off with a win."           

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