This archived article was written by: Megan Fietkau
As the air gets cooler and the sun sets sooner, the Lady Eagles are still feeling the heat. After two successful and competitive packed weekends, the women’s soccer team returned to campus with heads held high.
The first weekend tournament (Sept. 8-9) was played in Henderson, Nev., against College of Southern Nevada and Grand Canyon University club team. The Eagles defeated CSN 5-2 and shut out GCU 3-0.
Having the disadvantage of tired legs and a long bus ride didn’t faze the Eagles. Coming out to the two games with tight, compact defensive shape and eyes to score, the Eagles solidified their wins with domination and great scoring opportunities against both teams.
The second weekend (Sept. 16-17) was played against the new conference team, Salt Lake Community College. With scores of 0-0 in overtime and an Eagle defeat of 2-1.
As many of the women on USU Eastern’s team are from the Salt Lake City area, a number of the players for SLCC were former teammates and friends alike.
Back-to-back games against SLCC aroused a lot of emotion from both the Eagles and the Bruins.
The first game against SLCC was a difficult one to note. Starting the game with nerves and heavy feet, the Eagles were dominated by the Bruins in the first half. The quick Bruin strikers were dancing around with the ball in the midfield and the Eagles’ defensive third most of the half.
“We can’t bite on what they’re playing,” said head coach Ammon Bennett during a half time locker-room pep talk.
At the start of the second half, the Eagles were still “biting.” Settling into the final moments of the game, head to head competition led the women into a double overtime.
With emotions running high, the match ended with a final score of 0-0.
Before the second game against SLCC, a bus of 40-USU Eastern students arrived at the playing field to support the team.
“It’s such an energy boost to have our peers right there with us,” says sophomore captain, McKenna Brown.
The second game against the Bruins played out with more confidence from the Eagles. Minutes in to the second half, the Bruins scored the first goal with a chip shot outside the Eagle’s 18-yard penalty box.
With rapid momentum, the Eagles turned around and scored a goal to tie up the game. Right striker, Ryan Virgil assisted freshman captain Gabriella Sorenson leading the game into yet another overtime.
The heat from the sun and both teams beat strong as the match came down to its final minutes.
With an out of bounds flip throw by Ryan Virgil into the Bruin 18-yard box, Gabriella Sorenson stretched her neck and jumped above the SLCC defense with a remarkable header goal.
The final winning score was 2-1.
“Once we got through the first game, we knew how we could beat the Bruins and we came out and did it,” said Brown.
The Eagles maintain a national ranking of 16th place in the NJCAA poll.
However, with positivity on the surface, Bennett says, “The team still has a lot to learn.”
The Lady Eagles play on home turf this weekend. Beginning Friday, Sept. 23 against Sheridan Community College at 2 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 24 against Northwest Community College. .at 11 a.m.