Eagles continue to struggle in front of goal

Sophomore+midfielder+Sariah+Keister+during+EWU+soccer%27s+0-0+tie+against+South+Dakota+State+on+Sunday.+With+the+draw%2C+the+Eagles+end+their+non-conference+slate+with+a+record+of+4-3-2.

Sophomore midfielder Sariah Keister during EWU soccer’s 0-0 tie against South Dakota State on Sunday. With the draw, the Eagles end their non-conference slate with a record of 4-3-2.

By Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor

A lack of goals continues to haunt the EWU soccer team. The Eagles wrapped up non-conference play today with a 0-0 tie against South Dakota State, and will take a 4-3-2 record into conference play next week.

Keeping with this season’s common trend, EWU outshot SDS 17-13. They also led in shots-on-goal, 7-5. The Eagles had the first five shots of the game, and kept control of the ball early on. Early in the first half, senior forward Allison Raniere took the ball at midfield, and showed off some ball-handling skills as she worked it through the defense all the way to the endline, but was unable to get a shot off.

Less than a minute later, sophomore forward Sariah Keister sent a pass across the field right in front of the net, but it missed the mark, and no one was there to receive the pass and get a shot off.

Then, SDS players seemed to adjust to their surroundings and slow EWU’s attack.

“I thought we were sharp in the first 20 minutes,” EWU head coach Chad Bodnar said. “I thought we passed the ball well and created some good opportunities. But we didn’t take advantage. Then the wind picked up and it turned into an ugly game.”

Despite the lack of scoring, Bodnar said he was pleased with how the backline played. Defense and goalkeeping have been highlights for the Eagles all season. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelsee Winston had five saves for her fourth shutout of the season.

“The positive is that’s another clean sheet for the backline and for Kelsee,” Bodnar said. “Playing without some normal starters today was difficult at times, but I think we had some good performances.”

The Eagles were without their highest scoring returning player from last year, senior forward Jenny Chavez. Chavez received a red card in Friday’s 2-0 win at Utah State, and was suspended for today’s match.

The Eagles open Big Sky Conference play on Friday at 3 p.m. at home against Sacramento State.