MISSOULA, Mont. – In a match that saw nearly 85 minutes of action before a goal was scored, the Eastern Washington women's soccer team (3-13, 1-6 BSC) lost a close 1-0 match against the Montana Grizzlies (5-7-4, 2-4-1 BSC) Friday afternoon at Missoula's South Campus Stadium.
"We created some good opportunities for ourselves today but were unfortunately unable to score," head coach George Hageage said after the game. "It was a shame we let in that goal late, and I think it was a situation where you try to do too much, but our girls fought hard the whole time and I'm proud of them."
The match's only goal came when UM's Allie Simon centered a pass to Ashley Robertson, which Robertson promptly chipped in over Eastern's Nathalie Schwery from 12 yards out. Robertson's opportunity in the 85th minute came as a result of a costly turnover by the Eagle defense deep in its own territory.
The goal came just seconds after Eastern had perhaps its best scoring opportunity of the afternoon. Junior Cassie Black had everyone beat and had Montana's keeper in a bad position, but sent her inside-the-box shot just right of the net.
Montana's offense saw substantially more production in the stat categories throughout the game. The Griz led Eastern in shots 12-1 and corner kicks 11-0 at the end of the first half. The tallies were even more in Montana's favor at game's end, as the home team finished with 23 shots and 13 corner kicks to Eastern's six and two, respectively.
"Obviously we had to switch to a more defensive system in the first half after they came out as strong as they did, but we were able to stabilize things after that and generate more offense for ourselves through the second half," Hageage said.
The strategy seems to have worked, considering just five of Montana's 23 shots were between the posts over 90 minutes.
Goalie Nathalie Schwery played tough all throughout the contest for the Eagles despite giving up the winning goal. Schwery registered a pair of diving stops, one each in the first and second halves, and stayed in the game despite taking cleats to the midsection when going for the ball in the 69th minute.
On the play, Montana's India Watne came roaring in, leading with her right foot, while Schwery made an attempt at the ball. The ensuing collision left Schwery rolling on the ground in pain and Watne was given a yellow card for the incident. Schwery ended the game with four saves.
Friday's match marked the end of Eastern's 2013 road schedule. Just two games remain in the season for the Eagles, both of which will be at home next weekend. EWU will take on Southern Utah Friday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. and Northern Arizona Sunday, Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. at Sports & Recreation Field in Cheney.