Lumberjacks and Bears to Visit Cheney

Oct. 21, 2008

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The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team now enters the final few contests of the 2008 campaign and, in order for the Eagles to qualify for the four-team Big Sky Conference Championship, essentially each contest is a must-win affair.

First up will be Northern Arizona at 3:30 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 24); Northern Colorado will then take on the Eagles at 11 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 26).

The Eagles have had a tough conference season thus far, combining some heartbreaking results with some not-as-close defeats. The most recent losses were 2-0 and 4-1 setbacks to Sacramento State and Portland State, respectively.

“Sacramento State on that day was better than we were,” head coach George Hageage said. “Unfortunately every once in a while, you run into a team that played better than you, and that was one of those days for sure.

“Portland State was an interesting game all the way around. We had some uncharacteristic goalkeeping and defensive errors the first three goals. It was an unfortunate result; we played a good game against Portland State , the result just was not there.”

However, the team is looking to turn that around, starting on Friday, and improve on its 0-3-1 league and 2-10-3 overall marks with some successful home results.

“We play a lot better at home, and home is definitely where you want to be for your last three games,” Hageage said. “It’s definitely do or die at this point. We are playing good teams, and we have to take care of the attacking end and be able to hold the ball a little bit.”

Northern Arizona is 8-6-2, 2-1-1 in big Sky games and in third place in the league standings. Over the weekend, the Lumberjacks lost to Weber State 1-0 before rebounding for a 1-0 home win over Idaho State.

Northern Colorado is coming off of an impressive weekend at home which saw the Bears defeat Idaho State 6-2 and Weber State 2-1. Those results improved UNC’s record to 7-10-0, 2-2-0 in Big Sky contests, good for a fourth-place tie in the league standings.

Lauryn Ties School Goal-Scoring Record
                
With a clutch first-half goal against Weber State on Oct. 12 to tie that contest 1-1, Lauryn Koelzer tied the school record for goals in a season with her sixth of 2008.

She now shares that record with Cyeeta Mott, who had six last season. The senior is also second on the single-season points list with 12, just trailing Mott’s 16 from last year.

The Walla Walla Community College transfer has impressively shot herself up the career charts, as well, in less than two years of play as an Eagle.

Koelzer is tied for third in career goals with nine and tied for fourth in points with 20.

Koelzer had her second, third, fourth and fifth goals of 2008 in an impressive four-game scoring streak from Sept. 14-Oct. 3.

The final one came in the second half of EWU’s 3-1 loss to Washington State on Oct. 3. It was the first home goal allowed by WSU in 397:57, dating back to a 2-1 win over eventual national champion USC on Nov. 11, 2007.

That stretch also included the game winner in a 1-0 win over Idaho on Sept. 26 and the game-tying score in a 2-1 double-overtime loss at Gonzaga two days later.

The streak started with a goal in a 1-1 tie with North Dakota State that clinched the SDSU Invitational crown for the Eagles.

The Connell, Wash., native ranks second in the Big Sky this year in goals per game with 0.40 and is fourth in points per game with 0.80.

“Lauryn has done more than we have ever asked her to,” head coach George Hageage said. “She has really carried this offense on her shoulders. She definitely has a nose for the goal.”

Blessard Leads Big Sky Conference 
                    
Goalkeeper Jessica Blessard is setting the pace among Big Sky Conference players in save percentage (.872), while she also ranks second in goals against average (1.08) and third in saves per game (5.86).

For her career, she has a goals against average of 0.96, which is on pace to set a school record in that category (Tiera Como, who played at Eastern from 2003-06, is next with 1.44).

EWU First to Score in Pullman Since 2007  
A score by Lauryn Koelzer at the 61:24 mark of Eastern Washington’s 3-1 loss on Oct. 3 at Washington State, a team that entered the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 a couple days later at No. 25, marked the first time WSU had allowed a goal by a visiting player in 397:57.

The goal got Eastern right back in the game, as the Eagles trailed by a narrow 2-1 margin at that point.

That goalless streak dated back to a 2-1 Cougar win over 2007 national champions USC on Nov. 11 of that year.

Jensen Climbs Goal-Scoring Chart  
               
Abby Jensen has scored nine goals in her Eagle career, good for third on the Eastern Washington all-time goal-scoring list. She trails Jennie Summers (2002-05), who had 11, and Cyeeta Mott (2004-07), who has the record of 14.

Eagles Win the Title
                                          
Eastern Washington played the best soccer of the four teams at the SDSU Invitational, contested from Sept. 12-14, to claim the tournament title. The Eagles defeated the hosts, South Dakota State, by a 2-1 score before tying North Dakota State 1-1. Iowa State was the other team to take part in the competition.

Four Eagles earned All-Tournament accolades, including Jocelyn Bement, Jessica Blessard, Lillian Bourret and Lauryn Koelzer. Bement was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

April Springs into Goal-Scoring List 
              
Midfielder April Coffin could not have gotten her collegiate career off to a better start, as the freshman scored a goal on her first-ever shot.

In the 31st minute of Eastern’s 1-1 tie with Louisiana-Lafayette on Aug. 29, she blocked a clearing attempt, chased down the loose ball and tapped it into the empty net to give EWU a 1-0 advantage.

The goal came in just her second collegiate game.

Playing for a Championship                                   
The Big Sky Conference’s regular-season champion will play host to this year’s Championship the first week of November. Depending on the host team’s preference, the semifinals will be played on either Nov. 6 or 7, and the title contest will take place on either Nov. 8 or 9.

Last year, Sacramento State won the regular-season crown with a 4-0-3 league record and then claimed the tournament championship with 2-1 and 3-0 wins over Portland State and Northern Colorado, respectively.

The winner earns the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Championship, which will commence on Nov. 14.

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