After finishing sixth in the Big Sky, Eagles conclude season with a match close to home
The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team will play its final game of the 2012 season against cross-town rival Gonzaga on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 p.m. at Gonzaga Soccer Field in Spokane, Wash.
The Eagles wrapped up the Big Sky Conference season on Sunday (Oct. 21), with a 1-0 win against Big Sky newcomer Southern Utah. Junior Torri Sitzman scored an unassisted goal at the 14-minute mark to give Eastern the edge it needed to hold off the Thunderbirds in Cedar City, Utah.
Two days prior, Eastern held Northern Arizona to a 0-0 tie in Flagstaff. The draw broke EWU’s seven-year losing streak against NAU.
As a result, Eastern finished the Big Sky season in sixth place, tied with Northern Arizona with a 3-3-3 conference record and 12 total points, which triples Eastern’s point total from the previous two seasons.
But with only the top four teams earning a bid to the Big Sky tournament, Eastern just missed the cut. Idaho State, Montana, and Portland State were all named co-regular season champions after ending the season with a 6-2-1 conference tally. Weber State secured the fourth spot after finishing 5-3-1 in the league, totaling 16 points.
By virtue of tiebreakers, Idaho State will host the tournament as the No. 1 seed. Interestingly, ISU is one of the three teams EWU beat during the regular season.
With their chance at the tournament gone, the Eagles will face Gonzaga to round out the 2012 schedule.
“We try to play Gonzaga every year,” said head coach George Hageage. “They contacted us before the start of the season to schedule a game, but the only weekend that worked for them was Nov. 2-4. Obviously we hoped to be in the Big Sky tournament during that time, so we told them if something happened and we did not make the tournament, we would play them.”
“I think this is a great opportunity for our young team,” added Hageage. “It is also a great opportunity to end the season closer to home. It will help gauge how far we have come this season with all the injuries that occurred. It will be interesting to see how we handle playing an opponent that is obviously a good team.”
Even without the extra game, the Eagles currently hold a 6-7-4 overall record – the best results the team has seen in two years. If they win against the Bulldogs, the red and white will finish with a .500 percentage, besting its winning percentage from the previous four years.