EWU soccer notches playoff berth


Photo by Melanie Flint

Emily Bringgold dribbles the ball down the field during the Oct. 23 game.

After dropping two of their last three matches, the EWU women’s soccer team got back on track over the weekend, earning 4 points and securing its second consecutive playoff berth in the 2015 Big Sky Soccer Championships, which will take place Nov. 5-8 in Moscow, Idaho.

The Eagles kicked off a pair of weekend matches Oct. 23 in Greeley, Colorado, facing the Northern Colorado Bears, who sat in second place in the conference standings, a position ahead of EWU by three points. The Eagles headed into halftime down, 2-0, and were 45 minutes away from losing consecutive matches for the first time all season.

After being out-shot, 4-10, in the first half, the Eagles came out firing after the break, out-shooting the Bears a combined 16-6 the rest of the match. The high volume of shots paid off for EWU, with sophomore defender Abby Klinkenberg scoring the first goal of her collegiate career off a rebounded shot.

Klinkenberg’s goal in the 62nd minute cut Northern Colorado’s lead in half and in the 71st minute, sophomore Aimie Inthoulay tied the match up after putting away another rebounded shot. Like Klinkenberg earlier, the goal was also Inthoulay’s first of her career.

The two teams were held scoreless the rest of regulation and neither capitalized in two overtime periods either, leaving the match to end in a tie. The Eagles grabbed their 16th point of the conference season and clinched a playoff berth with two matches still yet to be played.

“We had to have a gut check at half time. Things have been tough and haven’t come easy right now so we had to have a talk at the half about what we were about as a team,” said head coach Chad Bodnar. “It’s that time of the year when balls go off of cross bars and hearts get broken or people are extremely happy and this is the time that we work for.”

It was a quick turnaround for the Eagles following the match, returning on a flight to Spokane the next morning for a home match against the University of North Dakota on Oct. 25.

Unlike the match prior, the Eagles got off to a hot start in their final home match of the season, with redshirt sophomore Delaney Romero scoring her third goal of the season off of an assist from freshman Devan Talley in the 11th minute. The Eagles would take the 1-0 lead into halftime and were hungry for more after taking an astounding 23 shots in the first half.

After scoring her first goal of the season two days before, Inthoulay followed it up by notching the unassisted match-winner in the 56th minute, putting the Eagles up; 2-0. North Dakota would pull a goal back in the 89th minute, but it made no difference with the Eagles securing the victory and the crucial 3 points.

The Eagles ended the match with 38 shots, 21 of which were on goal. “You always hope to finish most of your chances in front of goal, but North Dakota’s keeper did a very good job today,” said Bodnar. “We were a little unlucky on a few of them, but at the end of the day, the win is what matters and it’s encouraging to see us continue to progress with this style of play.”