On the Road for First Time in Big Sky Season, Eagles Face Sac State and Portland State

Coming off important win, resilient Eastern squad excited for upcoming road matches

Upcoming Games/Coverage

Eastern at Sac State
Friday, Sept. 28 | 4 p.m. PST
Hornet Field | Sacramento, Calif.
Game NotesLive Stats

Eastern at Portland State
Sunday, Sept. 30 | 1 p.m. PST
Hillsboro Stadium | Hillsboro, Ore.
Game NotesLive Stats

After opening the Big Sky season at home, the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team hits the road for its next two conference matches. The Eagles face Sacramento State on Friday (Sept. 28) at 4 p.m. in Sacramento, Calif., before heading up to Portland to play the Vikings of Portland State on the turf field of Hillsboro Stadium on Sunday (Sept. 30) at 1 p.m.

Eastern currently holds a 1-1 Big Sky Conference record, and is 4-5-1 overall. This past week, the Eagles were dealt a tough 1-0 loss by Weber State, but the squad responded well against Idaho State, earning a strong 2-1 victory.

When the Eagles faced the Bengals last Sunday (Sept. 23), ISU scored a quick goal in the first 22 seconds of the match. The red and white did not let it discourage them though, and came back with a goal from senior Kasey McNeill at the 24 minute mark. Then, six minutes into the second half, sophomore Cassie Black scored the unassisted game-winner for the 2-1 victory.

“When we lost to Weber State, obviously we were disappointed in that,” said head coach George Hageage. “And it put us in a little bit of a hole. But I thought the team responded great against Idaho State. To give up a goal in the first 30 seconds, and then come back and win a game at home, it just shows that we are a different team than we were in the past. We are a little more resilient and we face adversity a little better.”

Scouting the Opponents

Just like Eastern, Sacramento State (3-5-2) and Portland State (3-6-1) both have a 1-1 Big Sky record. Both teams recorded a win against North Dakota, but lost to Northern Colorado in the opening weekend of league play.

When Sacramento State faced UND, it scored an early first-half goal and held on to the lead for the remainder of the match. In the match against Northern Colorado, the Hornets kept the game scoreless until halftime, but conceded two second-half goals for the loss.

Sacramento State is led by senior Elece McBride, who has recorded three goals, one assist, and 17 shots on goal this season. She is second in the conference in total shots with 33, which is 10 more than Eastern’s shot leader, Cassie Black.

The Hornets hold a 9-4-1 all-time record against the Eagles. When the two teams met in October of 2011, the Hornets defeated the Eags 1-0 in Cheney, Wash.

Similarly, the all-time record between Eastern and Portland State stands at 10-4-1, in favor of the Vikings. The most recent matchup in the 2011 season was in Cheney, Wash., where the Viks also handed the Eagles a 1-0 loss.

In conference play this season, Portland State gave up an early goal in its match against North Dakota, but the Vikings fought back for a 3-1 finish. PSU scored two goals and North Dakota gave up an own-goal for the Viking win. When Portland State faced UNC, the Bears scored late in the second half for the 1-0 decision.

News & Notes

Quite the Turnaround: With a 4-5-1 record heading into just the second week of the Big Sky season, Eastern Washington has already doubled its wins from a year ago. With 12 goals on the season, and at least seven games still remaining, the Eagles have equaled the total amount of goals scored throughout the entire 2011 campaign. Seven different players have socred at least one goal for EWU, while five different players have had at least one assist.

Recent Success Shows in Big Sky/NCAA Statistics: Statistically, Eastern is leading the Big Sky Conference this season in several key categories. While it has only recorded 115 total shots this season to rank sixth behind both Sac State and Portland State, the Eagles do lead the two upcoming opponents in goals, points, assists, and saves. The Eagles are currently third overall in the league in both goals per game (1.20) and points per game (3.10). In terms of goals, the Hornets are close behind with an average of 1.10 per game to rank fourth., The Vikings are eighth out of 10 with a 0.80 goals per game average. Sophomore Cassie Black has played a big role in Eastern’s rankings, providing five goals this season and two assists. She ranks second among all players in the league for goals, averaging 0.50 per game and is also second in total points with 12. Black has notched three game-winning goals this season, which ranks 24th in the NCAA. Eastern’s sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery currently holds the top spot in the Big Sky for both save percentage and goals allowed, while her save percentage of .872 currently ranks 21st in the nation. Schwery, a native of Schuepfheim, Switzerland, has collected 41 saves, while only allowing six goals in 521 minutes between the pipes. Thanks to the combined efforts of Schwery and senior goalkeeper Jamie Walker, Eastern ranks third in saves with 60 on the season and an average of 6.00 per game. Sacramento State stands at fourth in the conference with 57 and Portland State is in eighth with 42.

Black Hauls in the Honors: Eastern Washington has won four of its last five outings, and put up eight goals in the process. Sophomore Cassie Black has had a hand, or rather foot, in six of those eight goals. In the last three weeks, the Battle Ground, Wash., native has scored five goals and assisted on two others. Her strong play has certainly turned a few heads. Black was a back-to-back Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18. She earned College Sports Madness Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 18, and was recognized with the same honor by Inland Northwest Soccer News.com. After leading Eastern to a 1-1 split at the Viking Classic (Sept. 7-9), which included Eastern’s first-ever win against Boise State, Black was named the Offensive MVP of the tournament. She scored two goals against the Broncos.

Three Eagles Garner All-Tournament Honors: Three players from the Eastern soccer team were recognized for their strong performances at the Viking Classic (Sept. 7-9) at Hillsboro Stadium in Hillsboro, Ore. Among the All-Tournament team honorees was sophomore forward Cassie Black, sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery, and junior forward Siara Byers. Black was also given the prestigious honor of Offensive MVP of the Viking Classic. She had an impressive showing against Boise State (Sept. 9), contributing two goals in 75 minutes of play, which helped Eastern secure a 3-1 win – its first ever against the Broncos. She also totaled 57 minutes of play against Utah State on (Sept. 7), tallying three shots with two on goal. Schwery stepped up for her team against Utah State, contributing a career-high 10 saves in 90 minutes of play. The Schuepfheim, Switzerland native had a strong showing between the pipes, only allowing one goal on 17 shot attempts by the Aggies. Hailing from Bremerton, Wash., Byers notched her first goal of the season against Boise State, as she put the Eagles up 2-0 with a strike in the 34th minute.

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