Vandals fail to finish — Soccer drops two to EWU, WSU in weekend matches
The Idaho Vandals soccer team added two more losses to itsrecord this weekend in matches against Eastern Washington University and Washington State University.
The Vandals fell 5-1 to local rival WSU on a tough game Sunday, but coach Pete Showler said the score was not indicative of the effort put forth by his players.
“I can’t fault any single one of my players,” Showler said. “Their work ethic today was phenomenal. We put that in game in, game out…we’re going places.”
The Cougar offense threatened early, with an unassisted goal in the first minute by WSU forward Jocelyn Jeffers. The Vandals answered in the 18th minute when midfielder Katie Baran found the back of the net.
“I’d rather concede one in the 23rd second than in the 89th minute and 23rd second,” Showler said. “What it did was it gave us a lot of time to come back into that game and we performed so well in the first half, and we did in the second half too.”
The Pac-12 Cougars played an aggressive game, netting another goal in the 26th minute.
“We stuck in with WSU … the score was unfortunate but I’m not unhappy with how we played because we battled,” Baran said. “I think it just lit a fire in all of us because they were tackling hard but we were tackling just as hard. During halftime everyone’s talking about how we’re all getting in hard. It’s not just one of us, it’s all of us.”
WSU came away with three unanswered goals in the second half, including an own goal by the Vandals in the 76th minute.
“That fourth goal was just typical of the whole thing of where our look is right now,” Showler said. “It hits two of our players – one on the head, one on the shoulder – and goes in the goal. It’s just kind of where our look is right now.”
Vandal keeper Liz Boyden said games like the one against WSU are hard because the team puts in the effort but the score doesn’t represent the way the game was played.
“The hardest part is being the one to pick the ball up out of the goal and being the one to kick it up when every single time it just brings your team down a little bit,” Boyden said. “I was impressed our team came back and kept heart despite the score and kept playing till the end. We’ve just got to forget the score and move on to the next game.”
The Vandals will also attempt to forget about the 2-0 loss they suffered to EWU Friday, despite compiling 22 shots on goal.
“We lost but the score was not how the play went,” Boyden said. “We dominated. We had 22 shots … we’re just unlucky right now. I don’t know what’s going on but I feel like things are going to turn once conference starts.”
Showler said he knows the games are tough and the losses hurt the players, but he and the team will work to keep their chins up as they move forward in the season.
“I’m happy with our output, I’m not happy with the final score and neither are the girls and I know it hurts them, but I can’t fault their effort,” Showler said. “In both games we’ve left nothing out there. The scores really haven’t reflected the game at all. Washington State is a fantastic team … you can’t take anything away from them.”
Showler said competing against physically aggressive teams like WSU will make the Vandals a stronger team in the long run.
“It’s just tough because it’s a big local rival and they’re very good … they’re a Pac-12 team with size, strength and speed and it’s going to make us better and stronger. It’s just hard for the girls to take right now. They hurt, they’re hurting and that means something.”
Baran said that if the team continues to play aggressively, she expects the wins to come.
“I just think it’s coming. We’ve just got to keep playing hard,” she said.
The losses to EWU and WSU put the team at 2-8 for the season, and add to their current six-game losing streak.
“I honestly think its just more motivation for the team,” Boyden said. “It sucks after every game and I know people take it to heart but we’re playing big teams and we’re getting experience and that’s hopefully all going to end up in a WAC championship … all this motivation.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org