In what appears to be a competitive year in the Big Sky, Eagles will look to have another comeback season
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Similar to the start of last year’s storybook season, the Eastern Washington University soccer team was picked sixth in the 2010 Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll, announced Thursday (Aug. 12) by the league office. Last year, the Eagles were selected eighth in the preseason rankings, but proved the pollsters wrong when they claimed runner-up honors in the regular season with an impressive 4-2-1 conference record. That mark in league play was the best for the Red and White since the 2004 campaign.
Northern Arizona, the 2009 BSC Tournament Champion, was selected as the favorite for 2010 with 48 total points, which included six of seven first-place votes. Sacramento State and Portland State followed with 38 and 36 points, respectively. Rounding out the top four was Weber State, a team Eastern beat on the road last year for the first time in school history.
EWU head coach George Hageage will return five All-BSC players from 2009, including the league’s second-leading goal scorer in Brittany Sparks. Sparks, a senior from Kennewick, Wash., scored 11 goals last season to set the EWU record for goals and points (22) in a single season.
Also returning is senior goalkeeper Lisa Dimak, who earned All-Big Sky Honorable Mention accolades in her first year with the Eagles. Dimak posted four shutouts and 62 saves during the 2009 season, and was twice selected as the BSC Defensive Player of the Week. Senior defender Hannah Kreminski will also add depth to the backfield, while junior Whitney Brannan should be a strong offensive threat, as she scored five goals and dished out three assists last season. Both players joined Dimak on the All-Big Sky Honorable Mention team in 2009.
Eastern’s conference season begins Oct. 10 when it travels
to Sacramento State to take on the Hornets at 1 p.m. The Eagles
will play their next two games at home versus Idaho State (Oct. 15)
and Weber State (Oct. 17) before facing preseason-favorite Northern
Arizona in Flagstaff on Oct. 24.
2010 Big Sky Soccer Preseason
Coaches’ Poll Results
School (First-Place Votes) -- Points
1. Northern Arizona (6) -- 48
2. Sacramento State (1) -- 38
3. Portland State (1) -- 36
4. Weber State -- 30
5. Idaho State -- 27
6. Eastern Washington -- 16
7. Montana -- 15
8. Northern Colorado -- 14