Soccer Drops Big Sky Home Opener To Portland State

CHENEY – Despite outshooting the visiting Portland State Vikings 15-10, the Eastern Washington women's soccer team fell 2-0 Friday afternoon at Sports & Recreation Field.

The Eagles came out of the gates incredibly strong, controlling the ball well and getting solid opportunities through the match's first 20 minutes until a Viking goal in the 20th minute by Cori Bianchini derailed Eastern's momentum.

The game was evenly matched from then on, save for a second goal for Portland State off the foot of Lynsey Gaines in the 28th minute. Both teams ended the first half with eight shots apiece.

After the start of the second half, a back-and-forth game resulted from both teams having trouble landing passes to a player with a same-color jersey. Strong back lines for both teams kept the ball in the middle of the field for much of the second half as well.

Eastern put up one final push toward the end of the game, showing an amped aggressiveness that hadn't surfaced since the 20 minute mark of the first half. EWU's push showed in the post-game statistics, as the Eagles outshot the Vikings 7-2 in the final 45 minutes of action.

Perhaps the closest Eastern came to registering a goal were off of two Jessica Wallace shots late in the first half. Wallace's 40th minute opportunity off an indirect free kick sailed just inches above the cross bar, leading many in the crowd to initially believe she had scored.

Other individual highlights for the Eagles included Brianna Brannan's first two shots of the season. Brannan, a defender who helped shutout the Vikings in the second half with her strong presence on the back line, launched one shot just wide of the net from nearly midfield and had a great opportunity blocked off a corner kick in the 70th minute.

True freshman midfielder Paige Gallaway also had a solid outing Friday, seeing time in relief of junior standout Cassie Black at forward. Galloway's aggressiveness led to her seeing more than one opportunity to score in the second half, despite not having a shot to her credit, and leaves a lot to look forward to for fans in the coming seasons.

Junior goalie Nathalie Schwery, who was relieved by freshman Clara Elsholz in the 81st minute, registered four saves in the losing effort.

In the team statistical categories, both teams finished with five corner kicks apiece, while Portland State was cited for 10 fouls to Eastern's seven.

Eastern is halfway through its first Big Sky Conference home stand of the season. They host Sacramento State on Sunday at noon at Sports & Recreation Field.

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