Eagles beat Portland State to move to Big Sky title game - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Eagles beat Portland State to move to Big Sky title game

Photo: EWU Athletics Photo: EWU Athletics

By EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University women's soccer team is advancing to the Big Sky Championship game for the second year in a row after a 2-1 win over Portland State today (Nov. 3). The Eagles take on Northern Colorado on Nov. 5 at 12:05 p.m. Pacific Time for the title.

"I thought we played really well in the first 15-20 minutes of the game and we scored our first goal, but then we sat off for a little bit to let Portland State back into the game," head coach Chad Bodnar said. "In the second half we came out and played well to earn the second goal and then it decided to snow on us. I have a couple kids that have never played in this weather before and we could tell. We were slipping around and let Portland State back into it, but the kids fought through it and we found a way to still win the game. The kids defended really well for the last ten minutes and it ended up being a gritty win."

EWU improves their best record in program history to 15-5-1 overall and will play in the championship game for the second year in a row.

It only took the Eagles six minutes to score after a corner kick from Chloe Williams with Jenny Chavez heading in the goal, giving EWU an early 1-0 lead. With the assist, Williams is now tied for fifth in all-time career assists in the Big Sky.

The Vikings responded with a shot on goal from Katie Forsee in the ninth minute but goalkeeper Emily Busselman was there to collect the save. PSU took another shot on goal in the 13th minute from Ellie Vasey with Busselman tallying another save.

In the 16th minute, Williams took a shot on goal but Abbie Faingold was there to stop the score.

At the end of the half, EWU was outshooting Portland State 6-4 and had a 1-0 lead.

Eastern Washington increased its lead to 2-0 in the 52nd minute following a corner kick from Emma Vanderhyden to set up a header goal from Brooke Dunbar for her first career goal.

Shortly after the second goal, the snow clouds came rolling in and it would snow until the end of the game, making the field a little more slippery for the players.

In the 79th minute, Tea Poore scored a goal for the Vikings from a shot outside the box into the upper corner of the net with an assist from Maxine Nagramada, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Eagles.

At the end of 90 minutes, EWU was able to hold on to its 2-1 lead to advance to the final round of the championship. The Eagles outshot the Vikings 9-8 and had five shots on goal.

Busselman ended the game with three saves and improved her record to 12-2-1 overall. Faingold recorded three saves on the day for PSU.

Win-Loss Record
The Vikings finish their season at 9-10-1 overall on the year and finished 5-4-1 in conference play. Eastern improved its series record to 8-12-2 against PSU.

What it Means
The Eagles advance to the Big Sky Conference Championship game and will take on Northern Colorado. UNC defeated Montana in a come from behind 2-1 victory in double overtime in the semifinals round to advance to the title game. Northern Colorado won the tournament in 2015.

Keys to the Game
The Eagles were able to score early in the game and did not give up the lead throughout the whole game.

Eastern's defense held the Vikings to only eight shots when they usually average 13.

Top Performers
Jenny Chavez and Brooke Dunbar both scored goals for the Eagles to help propel them to the 2-1 win.

Chloe Williams led the team in shots with three, all of which were on goal. The senior forward got the game going for the Eagles as she took a shot on goal within 30 seconds of the game.

Emily Busselman collected three saves on the day and held PSU to only one goal.

Bodnar Bites
On having a 2-0 lead before the snow: "
It was huge. We don't really recruit to play in the snow and getting that cushion was a big thing. You can't control the weather, and the kids battled through. I am super proud of them and I am excited to play in the final."

On advancing to a potentially snowy finals game: "With it snowing today, it gave us a taste for the final game. At the time I wasn't impressed with the snow. But I think getting through it and being able to talk about it tomorrow along with how we game plan and play differently with the snow is important."

What's Next
Eastern Washington will be playing for the Big Sky Championship title this Sunday, Nov. 5 at 12:05 p.m. against No. 3 Northern Colorado.

The match will be streamed live on WatchBigSky.com and Pluto TV Channel 234. In addition, it will also be broadcast on Eleven Sports.

Admission is complimentary for any college student with a valid school ID. Children 12-years-old and under are also free. Tickets are $8 for the Championship match. Cash only.

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