|Thursday night was all about working out the kinks just over a week into fall camps (Photos: Gerald Barnhart)|
The lady Zags, which had all but four players on the squad at camp in the spring, was up by three at the halftime break and added two more in the first 13 minutes of the second half as they held a majority of possession against the Eagles, who came into the match with a new head coach and a squad comprised of a lot of new faces.
“We were able to train 23 of our players all spring so they have got a lot of experience together, so I think you are able to see that,” Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards said of the team. “So, we are excited about the leadership, the maturity and the growth of the team from last year to this year.”
The possession and movement of the ball for the Bulldogs had the Eagles chasing for nearly the entire contest as they kept continual pressure in the attacking end of the pitch throughout the game.
After a couple of dangerous looks a few minutes earlier, the Zags took the lead in the 17th minute when senior Kasey Rubosky (Spokane, WA) made a run up the middle that drew the Eastern defense to her in the box before she dished the ball out to redshirt senior Cassie Geerdts to her left. Geerdts delivered a rolling cross through the area, picking out senior Katey Pennington (Boise, ID) at the right post for the easy finish.
“We’ve got a very veteran group. I think that we are super excited about the leadership and the experience of our upper classmen, and then pretty excited about some of the talent we have in our younger players. I see us being a better attacking team than in the past years. I think we have a lot of depth. I also see us having some leadership in the back; so it’s kind of exciting. Today was an opportunity for us to see that, but also see that we havn’t been able to work on everything the past eight days. And it gave us a good opportunity to see what we need to focus in on in the next week before our opener.
In the 29th minute Tori Lee found Karley Baggerly for an uncontested shot from about 13 yards out to double the lead. Baggerly pushed the margin to three when she collected the ball on the right flank and sent a cross that found Brittany Doan for another easy tally.
“I think it’s going to be a process. We have a big mix of returning kids and brand new kids, and I think you saw today a lot of this kids’ eyes were wide open when we kicked off that first half,” said new Eastern Washington head coach Chad Bodnar. “But, I see some very positive things out of it and I think there is enough there to do okay in our league and get better.”
Freshman Chloe Williams (Spokane, WA) spoiled the Gonzaga shutout in the 63rd minute with a nice goal, driving in to goal and firing a shot from the left that found its way inside the far right post.
“I think M’Kenna Hayes had a really good game today in the back for us, and Chloe Williams obviously scoring a goal was good. I think she can score quite a few goals for us this year, and I think she matches was Cassie Black does really well,” said Bodnar.
“I think Gonzaga is a good team, but we just had a lot of young kids that got their first taste of it and we are just trying to jell. I’ll take it and we’ll move on.”
Moving on will be a tough task for the Eagles, who finished 1-8 in the Big Sky a year ago and face another stiff contest in another exhibition Saturday at home against Washington State, an NCAA tournament team last fall.
“That group of seniors we have is a good group. They are gonna work hard, and they want to get better. I think, again, in the second half we saw what some of them can do. There is some match fitness stuff that has to get better, but they are always gonna work hard and they have a great attitude so as long they are there in that way we are going to get better.
Eastern Washington University 1-5 Gonzaga University
GU: Katey Pennington (Cassie Geerdts, Kasey Rubosky) 17
GU: Karley Baggerly (Tori Lee) 29
GU: Brittany Doan (Karley Baggerly) 38
GU: Tori Lee (Mikayla Anderson) 48
GU: Heather Johnson 58
EWU: Chloe Williams (Ua Ruedy) 63
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