Eastern Defeats Conference Rival Idaho State, 2-1

Eagles use goals by McNeill and Black to overcome early one-goal deficit

In its second game of Big Sky Conference play, the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team tasted victory once again.

The Eagles outlasted Idaho State on Sunday (Sept. 23) for a 2-1 win at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center Soccer Field in Cheney, Wash. The Bengals struck early and took a 1-0 lead, but were unable to hold on, as the Eagles added two goals of their own.

The game-winning goal was scored at the 51 minute mark. Eastern’s Cassie Black rocketed off an open shot that found the back of the net. The unassisted goal was the third game-winner of the season for the sophomore forward from Battle Ground, Wash. Black has recorded five goals in 2012, and 11 in her career.

“Cassie’s goal could not have been more perfect,” said head coach George Hageage. “She blasted it and put it perfectly on frame. She has been working hard and she is doing well, so it was great to see her get a goal like that.”

In the first half, Idaho State controlled the kick-off. The Bengals quickly worked the ball down the field to Amanda Ellsworth, who slipped it in the goal for a 1-0 lead after just 22 seconds had elapsed.

“The message we have been preaching is how to face adversity,” said Hageage. “That was adversity – giving up a really simple ball so early in the game and suddenly they put it in the back of the net.”

The Eagles did not let the early goal discrepancy put them out of the game though, and responded 24 minutes later with a goal from senior Kasey McNeill. McNeill connected on a pass from Black and netted it for a 1-1 tie at the half. It was McNeill’s second goal of the season, and fourth of her career. Black's assist was her second this season.

“It was great to see Kasey get a goal to equalize it,” said Hageage. “I think all our forwards did well holding the ball and finding players. We also saw good things from the midfield. Brittney Conway came back strong and got her legs back under her. She and Katy Allen were a big part of controlling the midfield today.”

Eastern’s defense had a strong showing in today’s victory, only allowing the Bengals to make 14 shooting attempts all game.

“We are talking about being stronger,” said Hageage. “In the past, if we give up a goal like we did, our heads go down, and we are done. But we fought back and limited their scoring opportunities. It was great to see Brianna [Brannan] and Katie Cashman do so well in the center back. And Nathalie is also playing great. Now for our next games, we just need to work on possession and not becoming so panicked once we gain a lead.”

The Eagles hit the road for their next conference match against Sacramento State on Friday (Sept. 28). The game is set to take place at Hornet Field in Sacramento, Calif. at 4 p.m.

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