By Rory Noble
The sun shone brightly over the EOU soccer field this week. The air was warm enough to keep the fans in attendance comfortable, yet cool enough to warrant light jackets for some. The heat on the field, however, was more intense as the lady Mountaineers battled Northwest Christian University on Thursday and Corban University on Saturday.
In the Thursday contest, both offenses were aggressive from the starting whistle, with NCU’s Bailie Reinwald’s shot getting past EOU’s Kailey Moss for the first score just 53 seconds into the contest. EOU sprinted to a tie on Tori Fedora’s third goal of the season just 22 seconds later.
Both defenses stepped up afterward and the battle truly began. There was not another shot-on-goal until 18 minutes into the period, when Jacque Bundtrock’s shot went wide of the EOU goal.
Katherine Hood put EOU up 2-1 on her shot at 29:17. Freshman forward Kirsten Watkins was given the assist on the goal by Hood. Neither team scored the remainder of the period.
Both teams once again came out aggressive to start the second period. At 52:44, Stevie Harrison grabbed a pass from Bundtrock and put it past the outstretched arms of EOU goalkeeper Kailey Moss.
Again, the Mountaineers responded quickly. Mauriana Gonzalez squeezed the ball past the diving NCU goalkeeper and into the net for a 3-2 lead at 54:48. The assist on the play went to Sydney Nelson and Fedora.
Late in the game, Fedora once again found the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season.
While the visiting Beacons played with hearth throughout the match, the Mountaineers, led by Fedora’s two goals, ultimately came away with the 4-2 victory.
Saturday’s contest with the Warriors of Corban University was another close match between two very good teams.
The first score of the game came at 41:06 when Mauriana Gonzalez skipped the ball past Corban’s Kaitlyn Mendenhall. Mendenhall had come out from the goal area to defend and the ball trickled in for the score. The assist on the goal went to Katherine Hood.
Corban had several attempts at EOU’s goal in the first period though none were good. EOU led 1-0 at the end of the first period.
During the second period, the Warriors’ crisp passing and quick field running began to pay dividends. At 51:27 into the match, Corban’s Randi Donahue found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Audrey Sullivan made the assist.
The fast pace of the game during the second half led to substitutions for both sides, in addition to fouls for both sides. As both teams worked toward a winning goal in the final minutes of the game, only Corban’s Audrey Sullivan managed to find the net with a shot.
Coming off a save from Mendenhall, the Warriors hustled down the field, easily outrunning most of the Mountaineer team. Donahue hit Sullivan with a pass on the left side of the field which scooted beyond EOU’s Kailey Moss at 88:39 for the 2-1 Warrior victory.
The Mountaineers wrap up the regular season Nov. 2 with a home match against The College of Idaho Yotes at 3 p.m.