Eastern Returns Home for Final Two Non-Conference Matches

Fueled by recent success, Eagles prepare to host Idaho and Hawai’i  

Upcoming Games/Coverage

EWU vs. Idaho
Friday, Sept. 14 | 4 p.m. PST
EWU Sports & Recreation Center Soccer Field | Cheney, Wash.
Live Stats

EWU vs. Hawai'i
Sunday, Sept. 16 | 1 p.m. PST
EWU Sports & Recreation Center Soccer Field | Cheney, Wash.
Live Stats

After five straight games on the road, the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team will return home this weekend to face Idaho on Friday (Sept. 14) at 4 p.m. and Hawaii on Sunday (Sept. 16) at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place at EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash.

The Eagles are coming off their first win of the season – a solid 3-1 victory against Boise State, which was the first ever against the former Big Sky member. The match saw the same strong performance Eastern had been showing all season, but this time, the Eagles were able to find the bake of the net.  

“We have been playing really strong,” said head coach George Hageage. “Hopefully we get a boost from the goals we scored against Boise State, and that keeps our offense going. We had specific goals for these last few non-conference games – one of them is to score three goals a game.”

Last season, the Vandals made it to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals, but lost to No. 1 Utah State, 1-0. They return nine starters and a total of 18 letterwinners from that squad. Among the returners is senior Chelsea Small, who holds four all-time Idaho records, including most goals (31), points (74), game-winners (12) and shots (313).

All but five of Eastern’s 15 contests with Idaho have ended in a one goal difference. The Eagles last played the Vandals in 2011, but Idaho claimed a 1-0 win on its home turf in Moscow. In fact, the past three matchups between the two teams ended in favor of Idaho, but prior to that, the Eagles had a five-year winning streak from 2004-2008.

So far this season, the Vandals hold a 2-6 record. On Friday (Sept. 9), they suffered a 6-0 rout at the hands of Florida International. However, they defeated North Dakota State 2-0 – a team Eastern was unable to edge past in its 3-2 loss. The Vandals had no luck with any Big Sky schools they have played this season, falling 2-0 to Idaho State and 3-2 against Montana.

Eastern and Hawai’i have only met twice in school history and have not competed since 2001, when the Eagles handed the Rainbow Wahine a 2-1 loss in Cheney, Wash. Prior to that, Hawai’i beat Eastern 2-0 in 1999 at a neutral site.

Hawai’i is 5-1-2 this season and has not lost a game since its season opener against Nevada (Aug. 17). Unbeaten for seven straight matches, UH needs only one more win or tie to break the school record for longest streak without a loss. On Sunday (Sept. 9), it beat Detroit 2-1 in overtime – its fourth overtime match in 2012. The team is led by sophomore Tiana Fujimoto, who has recorded three season goals and tallied six in her career.

The Rainbow Wahine travel to Washington State on Friday (Sept. 14) to take on the Cougars before making the short trip to Cheney two days later.

“We are looking to put more in the back of the net against Idaho and Hawai’i, but they are two very tough opponents,” said Hageage. “It will definitely be a challenge, but we are going to work on what we do best: ball possession and trying to finish the opportunities we are creating. At this point, we are in a good spot heading into the Big Sky conference games.”

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