Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Johnson brace leads Gonzaga women to 3-0 win against Eastern Washington

Local foes Eastern Washington and Gonzaga squared off once again Tuesday | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - GALLERY
In a showdown of area foes, Gonzaga rolled a 3-0 victory on a blustery and cool afternoon against visiting Eastern Washington, led by the duo of sophomore Heather Johnson, who tallied twice, and freshman Karley Baggerly.

Heather Johnson
Baggerly nearly opened the scoring 17 minutes into the contest when she drove to goal only to be denied by the keeper point blank and then again by Eastern's Jessica Wallace after regathering the ball.

Johnson (Kennewick, WA), though, put the Zags in front in the 31st minute with a run up through the midfield that finished with an blistering shot from 24 yards toward the upper corner that caught EWU keeper Nathalie Schwery by surprise.

The Eagles nearly pulled even just before the break when a long bouncing ball toward the left side of the box put Siara Byers shoulder-to-shoulder with Cricket Harber battling for the ball. Harber got the initial touch on the ball with a header directed back to the keeper, but it was not strong enough and Byers was able to get her foot to it, poking it toward the upper left corner only to see goalkeeper Christie Tombari (Spokane Valley, WA) fully stretch out to snare it.

Karley Baggerly, Kayla Sutter
Three minutes into the second half Baggerly ensured the victory for the Bulldogs, who were controlling much of the contest, on a defensive error. A long ball over the top similar to Eastern's chance at the end of the first half saw Baggerly and Kayla Sutter racing for the ball at the edge of the area. Sutter got to it first, but her attempt to stop and turn with the ball was fumbled, popping the ball further toward goal where Schwery came out to initially deny Baggerly only to see the Zag striker recollect and finish into the open net.

"We've played a lot of tough opponents and some of them have pressed us in different ways, and I think today was one of those lessons that we have to learn. We have to compete," said Eastern Washington head coach George Hageage. "I thought the soccer was good when we had opportunities and chances to pull it down and just pass it around, and Gonzaga doesn't do that. They kick it and 'we got to get to the ball and we push it on,' and that's just their style. We need to learn how to play that, because that's Big Sky. What they are doing is the Idaho States, the Southern Utahs; that's what we are gonna have to face in the Big Sky. Good for us to see it today, because we haven't seen it this year."

Five minutes later Johnson netted her second, collecting a long cross from the far side of the area and finishing near left post past the charging Schwery to make it 3-0 in the 53rd.

George Hageage
From that point, it turned into a scrimmage as both sides emptied their benches, though Baggerly had one more effort on a well-paced ball that was parried away in the 58th. Ashley Aberton had the last good look in the 73rd when her shot launched from well out on the right flank forced Schwery to tip it over the goal as it was dropping in under the bar.

"Second half I was pretty excited from the standpoint that once the game was out of hand a little bit we started getting some of the younger kids in there, and I thought they did pretty well; at least competed. And we have some players coming off injuries that we are getting back," Hageage said.

"I am pretty excited for the rest of the season; the Big Sky is wide open. If you look at who we've played and who some of the other teams have played in the Big Sky, I think we are right there. It's just gonna come down to if we can create scoring opportunities and then finish them, because that's been, not so much this game, but the first five games have been like that. We have had opportunities to put balls into the back of the net and we haven't done it. Hopefully we'll get back on track."

Eastern Washington @ Gonzaga Highlights