Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

EWU soccer undefeated at home in Big Sky play

Back-to-back shutout wins keeps Eagles in hunt for regular-season Big Sky title

 

October 19, 2017



A perfect season at home in Big Sky Conference play got a proper ending for the Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team.

The Eagles earned a pair of shutout victories — 3-0 over Portland State on Oct. 13 and a 1-0 conquest of Montana Oct. 15 — to conclude their 2017 home schedule. Eastern has now won six consecutive games and is 6-0-1, the longest unbeaten streak at home in program history.

Delaney Romero’s shot just 17 seconds into the game proved to be all the Eagles needed against the Grizzlies. The kick took some whacky bounces before deflecting off of a Montana defender and into the goal.

From there it was defense as the Grizzlies (4-2-1 Big Sky, 9-6-2 overall) controlled much of the play in the first half, outshooting the Eagles 10-1.

“I would say that the next 44 minutes, Montana took it to us in the attacking third (of the field),” head coach Chad Bodnar said. “Credit to our backline for staying stingy during that period.”

That was corrected in the second half. “We played a lot better in the second half but still had to lock it down defensively as there were a lot of balls played into our box,” Bodnar said.

Montana outshot Eastern 15-6, the first time a team has done so to the Eagles in 2017. With the two wins, Eastern goalkeeper Emily Busselman improves to 10-1-1 this season.

In Friday’s win over Portland State (5-2, 8-7), Eastern got goals from Jenny Chavez, Chloe Williams and Aimie Inthoulay. Williams’ goal — her 39th — tied the Big Sky record, which she now shares with Amanda Ellsworth (2011-14) from Idaho State.

The Eagles extend their lead in the Big Sky Conference 19 points over Portland State (15), who, if they lose, helps Eastern clinch the regular season crown.

EWU finishes with a 9-1-1 record overall at home this year. Their lone loss was against Cal State Northridge on Sept. 10. They are 12-4-1 overall.

The Eagles hit the road for the next two weeks to finish conference play and take on Idaho State Oct. 20, Weber State Oct. 22 and defending Big Sky regular season champ Idaho on Oct. 27.

Eastern strives to host the Big Sky Tournament Nov. 1 –5, an honor that goes to the regular season champion. Because of poor field conditions in 2016 at regular-season champ, Idaho, Eastern was awarded the conference tournament and won, earning its first NCAA berth.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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