October 31, 2008

Koelzer Sets Record in Overtime Win over Montana

Oct. 31, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team ended its 2008 season on a two-game winning streak after dispatching Montana 3-2 in overtime on Friday afternoon (Oct. 31). Lauryn Koelzer set a school record for goals in a season with her seventh in the senior's final game as an Eagle.

The game winner came courtesy of Whitney Brannan, who scored her first goal of the season just 16 seconds after being substituted into the game for an injured Koelzer. She toe-poked a loose ball in the box past the goalkeeper and into the net, setting off a raucous celebration on the Eastern sideline. The score came at the 97:53 mark.

Earlier in the game, Koelzer set the goal-scoring record and earned Eastern a 2-1 advantage when she took a pass from Brittany Sparks and dribbled around the goalkeeper's right and slotted the ball into the empty net. That goal came with 53:02 showing on the clock.

"It is great," head coach George Hageage said of Koelzer's goal. "I wish I had had her for her first two seasons because I cannot even imagine where she would be if we had her. She does everything we have ever asked her to do, and she works so hard. When I think of Eastern, there are a number of players that I stand out, and she is one of them."

Sparks herself got on the scoreboard earlier in the contest and tied the score at 1-1 when she collided with the goalkeeper and, in the process, kicked the ball slowly across the line and into the goal. The goal came at the 48:58 mark and was her second of the season.

The Grizzlies took a 1-0 advantage when Ciara Kremer converted on a penalty kick at the 17:55 mark (Eastern Washington had committed a handball in the box). Then, with Montana trailing 2-1, Brandee Marone took a shot that got past the goalkeeper and slowly trickled across the box and off the right post and into the net. That score came with exactly 71 minutes on the clock.

There were six cards issued in the physical, intense contest, three for each team, including a red card to Montana's Sara Campbell.

"We showed tremendous heart being able to come back after being out-shot 11-1 and down a goal," Hageage said. "I kept telling them to play more direct and skip the midfield, because Montana is extremely well organized in their 3-4-3. Along with telling them to keep pressure on their backs and their goalkeeper, who kept coming out, and that good things would happen. That is how Brittany Sparks scored her goal, and the last one we caught her off her line again.

"I am very happy with our team and how we finished the season. It was great for the seniors, and they are extremely happy. It was a good win."

The Grizzlies (6-10-2) are now holding onto a thread in their aspirations of qualifying for the Big Sky Championship. They finish the league season 3-3-1, while Sacramento State is 3-3-0 with a game at Portland State tonight. A Hornets win would knock Montana out.

Eastern Washington completes its season 4-11-3, 2-4-1 in Big Sky play, but did finish off the campaign with an impressive two-game winning streak. The Eagles defeated Northern Colorado 1-0 on Sunday (Oct. 26) to knock the Bears out of postseason consideration before possibly eliminating Montana today.


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