EWU soccer celebrates first-ever Big Sky championship, reaches NCAA Tournament

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Brad Brown

By Karen McCormick, Staff Writer

ian11After finishing at the No. 5 spot in the regular season, the Eagles defeated No. 4 Montana and back-to-back regular season champions No. 1 Idaho, advancing to the finals on Nov. 6. In the championship game against No. 3 Northern Arizona, the Eagles claimed the top spot finishing 4-3 in a penalty kick shootout.

Junior forward Chloe Williams was named the Big Sky Tournament’s MVP with one goal and one assist on 12 shots throughout the tournament’s three games.

“It’s a surreal feeling,” said Williams. “… we’ve worked so hard all season and off-season. To be here celebrating is great.”

The Eagles’ success guarantees them an automatic bid in the NCAA Division I championship, another first in the program’s 19-year history.

Brad Brown
Brad Brown

“Having at least one more week with our seniors is just an awesome feeling,” said Williams. “Not having to say bye to them just yet … feels amazing.”

In a live selection show on Nov. 7, it was announced EWU will face off No. 2 seed (in their region) University of Southern California (USC). The Eagles’ current overall record is 13-4-4, while USC holds a record of 14-4-1.

“We’ve earned the right to go play them and we’re excited to have that opportunity,” said head coach Chad Bodnar. “Definitely a very good opponent. One of the top teams in the country.”

Brad Brown
Brad Brown

Coming off of a successful and history-making conference championship, the Eagles remain focused on the road ahead.

“We’re excited,” said sophomore midfielder Devan Talley. “Eastern is very small and this is a big shot for our team. We’re gonna take it and we’re gonna score and we’re gonna have a fun time doing it.”

Brad Brown
Brad Brown

The Eagles will travel for the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship beginning Friday, Nov. 11. Sixty-four teams will vie for the championship. USC will host EWU Nov. 12 at McAlister Field in Los Angeles, California at 4 p.m. EST.