Monday, September 26, 2016

Big Sky Tonight 9.25.16: Eastern Washington sweeps, alone in first

The Eagles of Eastern Washington University completed a weekend sweep of the Idaho schools with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory Sunday against fellow Big Sky favorite University of Idaho. The victory, combined with other results on the weekend, left Eastern as the only team with two victories from the opening weekend of play in the Big Sky Conference.

Idaho 1 :: OT :: 2 Eastern Washington ##### 

The hosts had the better of possession for most of the first half and plenty of great scoring chances, but were only able to put two on target, one of which found the back of the net in the 38th minute for the lead. Laci Rennaker (Spokane, WA) created the goal when she received the ball alone on the right flank and played it central to Delaney Romero (Yakima, WA) streaking squarely across the top of the box. Romero challenged a Vandal defender for the ball in the outer corner and came away with it, turning back to her left and firing a low shot just inside the far left post out of Torell Stewart's reach.

The Vandals came out after the break intent on finding the equalizer and the played proved to be a lot more balanced in the second half as the reigning regular season champions and preseason favorite in the coaches poll began to pose more of a threat. Eastern, though, thought they had some insurance in the 74th when Delaney Romero, in a physical shoulder-to-shoulder battle with an Idaho defender, charged inside the box after a loose ball and poked it past Stewart as she dove out. The Eagles thought they had a goal only to see the referee controversially waive it off and rule a foul had been committed by Romero.

Four minutes later the Vandals lost Kavita Battan to a knee injury on a tackl and as time ticked away it looked as though Eastern was up to the task of holding on for the win, turning away every foray into the box by Idaho. However, a ball sent back into the box by Claire Johnson on a scramble late in the game was knocked down by a handball, sending Elexis Schlossarek to the penalty spot to tie the match up with four minutes remaining.

The two sides found themselves in overtime where once again Eastern began to take control of the contest, creating more scoring opportunities than their local foe. With just over a half-minute remaining in the first overtime session Chloe Williams (Spokane, WA), who had been a constant threat throughout the contest, received the ball near the outside right corner of the box and cut inside. As she drove into the box Johnson lunged out and tripped Williams, who proceeded to convert the subsequent penalty kick for the victory and tying her with Cassie Black on the program's all-time goal scoring list at 24 and the game-winning goals list with Black at nine.

The result gives Eastern an 8-1-1 overall record on the year and ended Idaho's Big Sky unbeaten streak at 11 games. Idaho is now 1-1-0 in the Big Sky after defeating Montana Friday.

MORE - Eastern Washington [+]   Idaho [+]      

Idaho State 0 :: 2 Montana ##### 

After a surprise drubbing from Idaho Friday, Montana rebounded well to get things back on track. For the first time since their two season opening wins, the Grizzlies got on the board twice in a match, scoring in the 15th and 34th minutes to end a four-game winless run.

Hallie Widner (Meridian, ID) set up the opening goal by finding Madison Adams on the right side for the go-ahead goal from about 12 yards out.

Moments after moving from centerback to striker, Ashlee Pedersen (Spokane, WA) found herself in a similar position as Adams, receiving a ball from Charlene Burger and finishing from about 12 yards.

Goalkeeper Kailey Norman needed just two saves to record her 21st shutout and 26th win of her career.

Montana moved to 1-1-0 in Big Sky play while Idaho State is 0-2-0 after being outscored 5-0 on the weekend. The Bengals have lost 11 consecutive Big Sky matches dating back to the 2014 Big Sky conference tournament final.

MORE - Idaho State [+]  Montana [+]     

Northern Dakota 0 :: 2 Weber State ##### 

Madison Garlock scored the Wildcats' opening goal seven minutes in from about 30 yards and helped add some insurance late, finding Sydney Seamons for a 20 yard strike in the 87th. Sydnie Brough registered the shutout without making a save.

Sacramento State 1 :: 1 Northern Arizona #####

Lindsay Doyle put the host Lumberjacks on the board six minutes in the first half with the Hornets getting an equalizer on a ball that deflected off a defender for an own goal in the 53rd.

Portland State  2 :: OT :: 3 Southern Utah #####

The Thunderbirds grabbed the lead 90 seconds into the match via Payton Bonino and doubled the advantage in the 11th minute on a penalty converted by Shelby Green. The two-goal advantage, however, was not enough as Rachel Michieli answered less than two minutes later and Aurora Bodenhamer tied it up three minutes into the second half. The two played to a stalemate the rest of the way, going to overtime, where Logan Harker netted the winner with a header four minutes in.

Coming Up ##### 

Friday, September 30
Eastern Washington @ Portland State 1:00
Northern Arizona @ Weber State 3:30
North Dakota @ Idaho State 4:00
Montana @ Sacramento State 4:00

Sunday, October 2
Eastern Washington @ Sacramento State 12:00
Weber State @ Southern Utah 1:00
Northern Colorado @ Idaho State 1:00
North Dakota @ Idaho 1:00
Montana @ Portland State 1:00