Women’s soccer comes to an end

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Reporter

In their first postseason appearance since 2009, the women’s soccer team fought in a match against Northern Arizona University in the Big Sky Championship quarterfinals where the Eagles lost to the Lumberjacks 3-2 on Nov. 6.

“We came out and I think we kind of had the wide-eye look and really didn’t play very well,” said head coach Chad Bodnar. “[The team] really didn’t play great until after we gave up the third goal. We were down 3-1 and then the kids decided to fight and they did and they got the second [goal] late.”

In the first half of the match, Northern Arizona’s junior midfielder Cierra Gamble scored the first goal in the 15th minute. Eastern answered back offensively in the 19th minute with a goal from senior forward Cassie Black to tie the game 1-1.

The Lumberjacks scored a second goal to meet the back of the net before halftime. NAU’s sophomore forward Torey Braly scored the third goal of the match in the 27th minute.

The first half ended with a score of 2-1 and NAU outshooting the Eagles 10-5. Eastern had four saves in the first half, Northern Arizona had three saves. The Eagles also had three corner kicks while the Lumberjacks had two corner kicks.

“As a team we had a pretty slow start,” said senior defender Kayla Sutter. “Mentally we just weren’t really checked in.”

Sutter said the Eagles turned over a new leaf to try to respond to NAU’s offense.

“Then in the second half, we really went at them and I think it’s safe to say that we pretty much dominated the second half,” said Sutter. “But we just couldn’t find the back of the net; we had some close opportunities that didn’t quite transfer.”

In the 52nd minute in the second half the fourth goal of the match was scored. NAU’s sophomore forward Demi Schmieder scored the goal, putting the Lumberjacks up by two goals, 3-1.

Eastern stayed competitive throughout the entire second half but came up short at the end.

EWU freshman forward Savannah Hoekstra scored a goal in the 83rd minute to cut the deficit to only one goal. Clinging to a slim lead, Northern Arizona managed to get the win moving on to a semifinal match against Portland State University.

In the second half, Eastern outshot Northern Arizona 7-6. The Eagles had three corner kicks. NAU had three saves while Eastern had two saves in the second half.

“It was said from the beginning that this year would definitely be a building season with a new coach and a new team,” said Sutter. “With all this year’s success, I think we’re kind of setting a new foundation for where the program is going to go.”

Black was one of Eastern’s top players. She had a total of six shots in the game; four of the shots were on target. Hoekstra was also one of the top performers with two shots, all of them on target, and one assist. Senior goalkeeper Nathalie Schwery had a total of six saves in the match.

Bodnar said he views the Eagles’ trip to the Big Sky tournament as a positive experience despite the result.

“I think the exposure and the experience that the young kids gained from it is going to be a positive,” said Bodnar. “I think as a stepping stone for the program, it’s a positive as well just because we did a lot of things this year that this program hasn’t done.”

Eastern finished their 2014 soccer season with an overall record 8-9 and the highest number of wins since 2009.