Talk about serendipity.
Because of a rare September snowstorm that postponed the Eastern Washington women’s soccer team’s home match with rival Montana, all Big Sky Conference eyes will be on the Eagles and Grizzlies in Cheney on Wednesday.
The rescheduled game – a 1 p.m. start at EWU Soccer Field – is the Big Sky’s regular-season finale. The league’s other four Big Sky Tournament-qualifying teams are done and await their seeding.
And, as it worked out, the Eagles and Grizzlies meet with a Big Sky title on the line.
If EWU (9-6-2, 6-1-1 Big Sky) beats or ties Montana (6-5-6, 5-0-3), the Eagles will capture their second Big Sky regular-season title in three years, as well as the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament in Greeley, Colorado. A loss today would relegate the Eagles to the No. 3 seed in the event.
Sixth-year head coach Chad Bodnar’s Eagles had the opportunity to clinch on Saturday, but lost 1-0 at Sacramento State (11-1-6, 5-0-4), which is tied atop the standings with EWU at 19 points.
Montana enters the game one point behind the Eagles and Hornets.
The score-by-committee Eagles have been paced all season by junior Sariah Keister (six goals) and senior Brooke Dunbar (four goals).
Senior Saige Lyons ranks third in the Big Sky with five assists.
EWU racked up 16 goals in its past eight Big Sky matches. Defensive-minded Montana has allowed two goals in its last eight matches.
This is also one of the better defensive team’s in Bodnar’s tenure, as evidenced by the Eagles’ recent program-record four-game shutout streak.
Junior goalkeeper Kelsee Winston has helped spearhead that effort, totaling 64 saves with a .762 save percentage for the Eagles.
EWU is 2-0-1 against the Grizzlies in their last three meetings.
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