USU Eastern women’s soccer team started to feel the excitement for their future conference games, as they finished their preseason by defeating their non-conference opponents Labor Day weekend.
After the Eagles’ friendly match against Westminster College, they were determined to get the win when they returned to Price.
As the Eagles geared up for their first-home appearance against Sheridan College Generals, they practiced hard not knowing what the Generals might bring to the pitch since this would be their first game of the season.
On Aug. 31, they started slow, but quickly picked up pace in the 19th minute when a long ball was put over the top of the defense by Midfielder Brooke Stoker. Forward Logan Duran outran the last defender of the Generals, collected the ball, made a simple cut around the goalie and passed the ball into the back of the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Duran’s tally was significant, as it was the first goal by an Eagle player on their new field.
Several opportunities arose for the Eagles in the first half, but they were unable to put them into the back of the net. The ball was sent across the box making it a dangerous situation for theGenerals, as the Eagles could capitalize and put the ball into the net to make it 2-0. However, Duran and Generals’ Goalie Morgan Bury collided while trying to get the ball making the Generals put in their backup keeper until Bury was cleared to return to the game.
The Eagles defended as a team, stopping four opportunities for the Generals to score with Freshman Mya Massey in goal for the Eagles.
With 30 seconds left in the first half, Eagle defender Sarah Reddish drove a long ball to the other end of the field where Eagle forward Morgan Cragun gathered the ball at her feet, touched the ball, not only past the defense, but also past the keeper making the score 2-0 at end of the first half.
In the second half, both teams played with consistency and the Generals were determined to put a goal in the back of the net. Meanwhile, the Eagles were determined to keep the Generals off the scoreboard.
The Generals fouled, giving them an opportunity to score. Kristen Franke for the Generals would take the free kick and put the ball in the back of the net just above Massey as she tried to tip it over the goal, making the match 2-1. This would be the last goal scored for either team as the Eagles’ would not allow the Generals much activity and the opportunities were shut down time and time again by both teams.
The next day, the Eagles dominated Trinidad State Junior College Trojans. Early in the first minutes of the game, the Eagles had several opportunities with a shot just off frame by Duran and within the third minute of the game, Cragun found the back of the net for the Eagles, giving them an edge from the start of the game.
Both teams felt the heat as the game continued and a number of fouls occurred, mainly by the Trojans. Eastern’s outside back Arianna Towne was fouled on the edge of the goalie box giving the Eagles an opportunity to score. Defender Ellie Putnam took advan.tage of the opportunity and sent the ball across the goal where Eastern forward Claire Boman connected and volleyed the ball past the goalie, making the game 2-0.
Trinidad later got an opportunity, but it was cleared away by the Eagles right before halftime with the game remaining 2-0.
During most of the second half, the Eagles made several opportunities for the themselves, but were not able to connect and put the ball behind the Trojan keeper.
Finally, Eastern’s forward Morgan Hall received the ball in the middle of the field and touched the ball to outside wing Mckenna Wiscombe. She then crossed the ball back into the Trojan defense to the back post where Hall connected with the ball and practically walked the ball into the net. This padded the lead for the Eagles as the final minutes of the game dwindled away.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Trojans had an opportunity to counter and score on the Eagles, but were quickly shut down. Center Back Aubrey Mitton, won the ball, turned and drove the ball up the field to Duran where she touched the ball to Hall where she got a touch right before the defense got there to the outside where sophomore Silvey Call, who cut to her left foot and took a shot that hit the back of the net.
The Eagles won the match, beating the Trinidad 4-0 to conclude their exhibition season.
When winning games, there are always things to learn from each and every game.
Coach Ammon Bennett tells the girls time and time again, “they have to get a little better each day and overall we are getting better, but we still have things to work on.”
Putnam said the team needs to continue to build on their game. “We definitely have some things to work on. We need to finish in the final third of the field, but we definitely are connecting a lot better and becoming stronger… we are definitely improving as the season is going.”
USUE hosts their first conference games Sept. 7-8 where they play College of Southern Nevada. The Eagles then travel to Taylorsville, to face Salt Lake CC Bruins on Sept. 14-15 and return home Sept. 22 to face Otero Junior College.