Eastern Washington’s women’s soccer team is one win away from a return to the NCAA Tournament.
Jenny Chavez and Brooke Dunbar scored goals Friday afternoon and the Eagles held off Portland State 2-1 in a Big Sky Conference semifinal at the EWU Soccer Field.
EWU (15-5-1) will host Northern Colorado (13-6-2) at noon Sunday for the conference’s automatic NCAA berth. Northern Colorado defeated Montana 2-1 in double overtime during the day’s first semifinal.
EWU won the conference tournament last year to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Northern Colorado won the tournament in 2015.
The Eagles scored in the seventh minute when Chavez headed in a corner kick from Chloe Williams.
EWU reached halftime with a 1-0 lead and 6-4 edge in shots.
The Eagles extended their lead in the 53rd minute on Dunbar’s first career goal, a header off a corner kick from Emma Vanderhyden.
Shortly after the goal, it started to snow.
“We don’t really recruit to play in the snow and getting that (2-0) cushion was a big thing,” EWU coach Chad Bodnar said. “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.”
The Vikings (9-10-1) avoided the shutout on Tea Poore’s goal in the 80th minute. Poore shot from outside the box into the upper corner, assisted by Maxine Nagramada.
“The kids defended really well for the last 10 minutes and it ended up being a gritty win,” Bodnar said.
EWU’s Emily Busselman finished with three saves and improved her record to 12-2-1.
Vikings goalkeeper Abbie Faingold recorded three saves.
“With it snowing today, it gave us a taste for the final game,” Bodnar said. “… I think getting through it and being able to talk about it (Saturday), along with how we game plan and play differently with the snow, is important.”
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