Eastern Washington avenged their 3-2 overtime home loss from just five days earlier against the University of Montana with a narrow 1-0 victory on a first half goal from Chloe Williams in the second match of the opening round doubleheader. In the first, Northern Arizona knocked out the defending tournament champion Northern Colorado with a 2-1 result.
The results set NAU up against Sacramento State and the Eagles up against local foe and top seed University of Idaho, which will be looking to avenge their lone loss of the Big Sky campaign.
In their previous match, Delaney Romero scored in the first half of the match for EWU and Elexis Schlossarek tied it up with a penalty in the 86th to send the match to overtime where Eastern won 2-1 on a Williams penalty 10 minutes in. The loss ended the Vandals' 11-game unbeaten run in the Big Sky. Since then, though, the Vandals are back on another run with a streak of 6-0-2, repeating as Big Sky regular season champions with a record of 7-1-2.
In the other semifinal, the match-up where their previous meeting left off as the Hornets and Lumberjacks finished even at 1-1 in Arizona. Lindsay Doyle scored for the Jacks at home in the sixth minute with an own goal putting Sac State level in the second half. That meeting, like EWU-Idaho's, also came on the second gameday of the Big Sky season. Since that game, Sacramento State has gone 5-2-1 and NAU went 4-2-2.
First Round Recaps...
Eastern Washington 1 :: 0 Montana #####
You would never have known that the game came just five days after a five-goal thriller between the two. Both teams had chances in the game, but the high-paced back-and-forth action was nowhere to be found as both clamped down on the other and made it a much tighter affair.
The decisive moment came 13 minutes into the match when everyone was deep in the EWU box for a set piece. Following a blocked shot, the ball popped to Aimee Inthoulay, who one-touched it out to the right for Savannah Hoekstra, who was making her first start since returning from injury two weeks ago. She drove about 25 yards with the ball before unleashing a dead-perfect diagonal ball as she crossed the midfield stripe that hit Williams in stride about 30 yards in front of the Grizzly goal. The two-time Big Sky Offensive MVP made a double-juke move in an effort to beat defender Tess Brenneman at the edge of the box, but the Griz defender was able to get a piece of the ball. The ball, however, popped up off Williams' head and was dropped down right in front of Williams, who fired it past Kailey Norman for the go-ahead goal.
The Grizzlies, who rallied from two down the previous week in Cheney, went on to outshoot the Eagles 12-6 the rest of the way, but the Eagle defense limited them to only five on goal. Mallory Taylor finished the contest with seven saves for the clean sheet.
The result gave the Eagles their first postseason win in 19 years.
MORE: EWU [+] UM [+]
Northern Colorado 1 :: 2 Northern Arizona #####
The Lumberjacks jumped out in front just 85 seconds into the contest when an attempted clearance by the Bears was collected by Adrian Nixt, who soared a shot over the keeper for the opening goal. Sydney Schroeder tied the match back up in the 17th minute on a deflected shot and the match remained even through the break.
In the second half the Lumberjacks controlled the play and a through ball from Shelbie O'Connor allowed Anna Goebel to put the Lumberjacks back in front in the 58th minute as her substitution awaited her on the sideline. The goal stood as the game-winner. MORE [+]
BIG SKY TOURNAMENT Schedule #####
Friday, October 4
Eastern Washington v Sacramento State (2) 10:00 am
Northern Arizona v Idaho (1) 1:00 pm
Sunday, October 6