Injury-riddled Eastern squad pulls together for second shutout of 2012 season
For the first time in four years, the Eastern Washington University Women’s soccer team defeated Idaho.
The Eagles used goals by sophomore Cassie Black and Haley Stading in the 2-0 win on Friday (Sept. 14) at EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash.
After a relatively slow first half resulting in a 0-0 halftime draw, the Eagles took the lead ten minutes into the second half. Eastern’s Haley Stading passed the ball to Black, who broke through the defense and drove it into the back of the net. It was Stading’s first assist of the season and Black’s third season goal.
“We were able to play to a weakness in their defense,” said head coach George Hageage. “When the ball was played through, I knew Cassie would be able to breakaway, it was just a matter of if she could finish. But she is on a roll and has simply been playing great.”
Ten minutes later, at the 65 minute mark, Black again gained possession deep in Vandal territory. She sent a cross into the box that was deflected forward by Kasey McNeill and sent home by sophomore midfielder Haley Stading – her first collegiate career goal.
The Eagles were out-shot 22-9 by the Vandals, but thanks to 11 impressive saves by sophomore goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery, they were unable to convert any of them. This was Schwery’s second shutout of the season.
“Nathalie is unbelievable,” said Hageage. “What an incredible game she had. I cannot believe some of the saves she came up with and that is how she has been playing all season. I was really proud of her for getting this shutout. Plus we know that Jamie [Walker] plays just as good, so we have two really talented keepers and are in a really good place.”
Prior to the game, injury struck once again to Eastern’s already sparse midfield. With leader Lauren Jacobsen still out with a knee injury, junior Torri Sitzman was set to take over the starting midfield position. But Sitzman was sidelined with her own injury during practice.
“Without Torri, only Brittney [Conway] and Katy Allen had experience in the center midfield position,” said Hageage. “That is why it was a little bit disjointed in the beginning. We did not connect passes nearly as well as we had been. We knew we had to change something so we switched to a 4-4-2 in the second half, or a flat four, and I think that disrupted them [Vandals] enough because they did not have a rhythm anymore.”
The red and white are on a two game winning-streak and look to continue the trend in their next match on Sunday (Sept. 16) against Hawaii. The final non-conference game of the season is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. at EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash
“We might need to think of some ways to switch things up against Hawaii,” said Hageage. “They are a team that knocks the ball around a lot. So if we are as unbalanced as we have been in the center midfield, especially today, we will have to do something.”