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Evergreen's Streak Ended in Tournament

October 26, 2004

Salem, OR - The Evergreen women's soccer team had their season ended by #4 regionally ranked Western Baptist tonight in the first round of the Cascade Conference Tournament. With the loss, the Geoducks drop to 8-9-2 on the year with all of their losses coming to NCAA Division II opponents or to NAIA programs ranked in the top five in Region I.

The Geoducks entered the game riding a streak of nine straight conference matches without a loss dating back to September 21st when Evergreen lost to this same Western Baptist team by a 2-0 score.

"We are a much improved team since the first time we played them," said Evergreen head coach Erik Gibson-Snyder. "I was excited about our chances tonight. But they have improved a lot too."

The first half was a see-saw affair with both teams generating good goal scoring chances. The Warriors had a ball skip off the Geoducks goal post while Evergreen was unable to punch in a couple of goal-mouth scrambles, one of which ended with a point-blank reaction save by Warrior keeper Kim Mendenhall.

The Warriors got a break 20 seconds before half time when Evergreen's Kimberly Force was fouled, but the referee called advantage despite the ball being in the Geoduck defensive end. The Warriors subsequently stripped Evergreen of the ball and Danea Crain found an open Sarah Muri who beat Stewart with a great far-post shot.

"That was a tough place to give up a goal emotionally," said Gibson-Snyder. "They had controlled periods of the half; we controlled periods of the half. The referee makes a call that really lacked game sense and Western Baptist made the most of it. Instead of feeling pretty good at half-time, all of a sudden our backs are to the wall."

Both teams changed systems to open the second half, and the Geoducks began to control much of the possession. But Western Baptist got another goal in the 60th minute when Sara Muri broke behind the Geoduck defense in a counter-attack and found Allison Buswell crashing the near-post. Busswell beat Stewart to the ball and flicked a shot into the net.

Evergreen continued to press forward and got back into the game when Joanna Stodden put a 18 yard shot past second half keeper Karyn Allen. Julia Eagen put a corner kick into the box which set off another frenzy in front of the Western Baptist goal. After two close range shots were blocked, the ball rolled out to Stodden who tucked her shot into the side netting.

"They had been struggling clearing our corners and throws all evening. We felt like we could get a goal there," said Gibson-Snyder.

With the goal it looked like the Geoducks might climb back into the game, but their hopes were dashed when the Warriors broke out on another counter-attack and Danae Crain beat Stewart to ice the game.

"That's where the first half goal really hurt us….It put us in a position where we had to commit more players forward. That plays to Western's strength. They are a very fast and skillful attacking team. The last thing you want to do is give them a lot of space to attack into. But being behind in the game, we really had no choice."

Warrior goalkeepers Mendenhall and Allen were a big factor in the match as they made several key saves and thwarted the Geoduck attack by cleaning up balls played behind the Warrior defense. Like the Warriors keepers, Evergreen goalkeeper Carly Stewart had five saves in the match, including stop on yet another break-away late in the game.

With the win, the Warriors move to 14-5-1 on the season and will face Concordia University Saturday in the Cascade Collegiate Conference finals.