November 14, 2007

Eagles Finish Season with Record Number of Wins

Nov. 14, 2007

The Eagles finished their season with the record for most wins and an overall record of 9-8, 3-4 in the Big Sky Conference. Eastern finished in fifth place, just one place short of making it to the BSC Tournament. This is only the third time that Eastern hasn't made it to the conference tournament in six years.

"When only four teams go to conference and the way we have things set up it is hard to go," said head coach George Hageage. "To come in fifth with a team that only won one game in the conference last year and was picked last, it felt pretty good. All of the credit goes to our players."

Cyeeta Mott had a record-breaking senior year. She now leaves the Eagles with eight records, including single-season goals (six), assists (four), points (16) and shots (58). She is also atop the list in career goals (14), points (35), shots (135) and game-winning goals (five). She tied the school record for single-season game-winning goals (two) and career assists (seven).

"She is a very good player and we are hoping that we can find some place for her to play afterwards," added Hageage. "She has an interest in continuing her playing career. If it is in the states, it would be awesome, but we are exploring some opportunities for her overseas."

Cyeeta Mott was named to the BSC's first team for forwards. Last year, she earned honorable mention. Freshman Jessica Blessard was named Top Newcomer with her total of 34 saves and two shutouts in just nine games. Cynita Mott was named to the first team for the defenders.

"That was Cyeeta's personal goal, so I was really happy for her. Those honors, along with her sister's (Cynita), were really special for her," said Hageage. "I think that is the way they probably wanted to end their career. They are graduating together, both first team, and it is great. With Cynita coming off from having a baby, that is amazing and shows what kind of person and athlete she is."

"It is good to see Jessica get some recognition," added Hageage. "She is going to be a good goalkeeper. We are kind of lucky that we have two goalkeepers that have stepped in and really filled Tiera (Como's) shoes well and actually took us farther then Tiera had taken us. We are excited with the future, especially with the goalkeeping."

Chelsey Hannesson and Carrie Conners were named honorable mention for defenders. This was Conners' second straight year to do so, and Abby Jensen also earned honorable mention for the midfielders for the second straight year.

"We are going to have to do some things with the loss of our seniors," said Hageage. "We had some freshmen come in this year that didn't break into the line up. We will be counting on them to take starting positions next year. I think we are going to be in a good position."

Jensen and her performance against Washington and San Jose State earned her Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 1. Eagles were also named Defensive Player of the Week on two occasions. Lillian Bourret was named on Sept. 24 for her performance against Utah State and, on Oct. 29, Jessica Blessard was named with her performances of a shutout on her own and a shared shutout against Weber State and Idaho State, respectively.

"We are going to work on a couple of things with Abby to get her to play a little bit better and to be a little bit more dynamic," said Hageage. "I thought she did really well this year. We would like to see her get a little bit more recognition. She had a great year and we are looking forward to having her back next year and be one of the leaders."

The Eagles will lose six seniors, Conners, Priscilla Milasich, Cyeeta Mott, Cynita Mott, Nicole De Shazo and Zoe White.

"We had a really good year," commented Hageage. "We just picked a bad time to have a couple of bad games, and it put us in a hole that we just couldn't get out of."

"We switched to having three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. Midfield is where your strength has to be. All five of our midfielders are back next year, six if you count the first person off of the bench. We are going to be using our seniors next year. Again that is going to be the strength of our team next year."

Eastern opened up its season 1-0 for the first time ever. The Eagles outscored Lamar 5-0, its most goals in five years. The Eagles then lost two in a row, falling to Temple University in double overtime and then coming home and losing to Gonzaga.

The Eagles then went 4-2, beating Cal State Bakersfield, Utah State, San Jose State and Idaho and losing to Boise State and Washington.

The Eagles then endured a long road trip to play Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona. Eastern lost to both teams before heading home to beat Portland State and lose to Sacramento State. The Eagles then lost to Weber State before shutting out Idaho State, Montana and Utah Valley State.

"It was nice for us to win three straight at the end there," said Hageage. "With the tough road trip to Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona and then to have Brittney Doran go down, it was good to see us get some freshman in and they filled in well. We had about five days to get things reorganized, and I think the players did a good job changing their style of play a little bit to incorporate the new players. We ended the season with three straight shutouts.

Last year, the Eagles only beat Northern Colorado and lost to the other Big Sky teams.

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