Moscow, Idaho – The Eastern Washington University soccer team saw its record-breaking 2015 campaign come to an end Thursday morning, Nov. 5, falling to Sacramento State, 3-1, in a Big Sky Championship quarterfinal match.
Despite the defeat, EWU's season will go down as its best in school history. Eastern set new single-season records for overall victories (12), Big Sky Conference wins (6) and longest winning streak (8) while scoring a program-record 34 goals in 19 matches.
The Eagles also saw sophomore Chloe Williams become the first player in program history to earn Big Sky Offensive MVP honors. She was also a First Team All-Big Sky pick while four other players collected Second Team All-Big Sky accolades.
Eastern ends its season with an overall record of 12-4-3 while Sacramento State improves to 8-11 overall with the win and advances to the semifinals of the conference championship.
Facing a two-goal deficit early in the second half, the Eagles refused to let their season slip away without a fight. Williams played a perfect through ball to freshman Devan Talley, who's arcing shot across the 18-yard box struck the inside of the post and trickled past the goal line, bringing EWU within one, 2-1, in the 78th minute.
EWU continued to battle, but the Hornets' Kayla Collins scored her second goal of the match on a counter attack in the 87th minute to seal the victory.
Freshman Jenny Chavez led all players with five shots on the day, including a headed attempt that was cleared off the line by a Sacramento State defender in the 66th minute.
Williams registered four shot attempts while sophomore Delaney Romero put two of her three targets on frame.
Eastern outshot Sacramento State, 19-14, but the Hornets made the most of their chances, converting three of their seven shots on goal. The Hornets' defense showed up in a big way, limiting the Eagles to just two shots on target in the second half.
Quoting Coach Bodnar
"I thought we started well, but we let in a bad goal and it took some air out of us. We needed to be able to respond to that better than we did. Our team played hard, and we had a lot of chances, but the ball just wasn't bouncing our way today. Credit to Sacramento State, who played very hard. We were unable to break them down.
"We're disappointed because we expected more from ourselves after having had such a good regular season, but I'm proud of our players for the year they had. We're going to keep improving and getting better. The expectations for this program have changed in just two short years, and we don't expect to just qualify for the conference tournament and be satisfied. We expect to win games. It's always disappointing when results don't go your way but we're moving in the right direction and this season's results have shown that."