Big Sky Conference play started on a victorious note Sept. 26 for the Idaho State University Bengals women’s soccer team. They managed a 1-0 shutout win over the Eastern Washington University Eagles.
The win could not have come at a better time for the unit following losses in five of their last six games. A pleasant welcoming awaited the team as they returned to the friendly confines of Davis Field ready to rebound from the tough stretch.
While it wasn’t the prettiest game the team has played this year, head coach Allison Gibson was pleased to come away on top.
“Would have loved to play better,” said Gibson. “But we played well. I’m happy with what we accomplished.”
ISU was led by a shutout in net by sophomore goalkeeper Sheridan Hapsic and a Whitney Peterson goal in the 58th minute from Lauren Bermudez and Kiley Godfrey to secure the successful conference opener.
The goal was Peterson’s first of the year, and one that could not have come at a better time for the home team.
“It was really nice [to get the game winner],” said Peterson. “I’ve been trying to get that first goal for a really long time and with it being a game winner it is even better.”
On the brisk Thursday matchup in Pocatello, a strong showing of fans came out to support ISU to yet another win at Davis Field. The Bengals have only lost two games at home since a double overtime loss to Portland State on October 23, 2011, thanks in part to outstanding fan support.
Two late yellow cards on the Bengals helped to keep the Eagles in the game, but good ball control over the final minutes and a defensive stand in the 90th minute helped to secure the win.
For a team coming off what was an unexpected early season rough patch, finishing the conference opener on a positive note is exactly what the doctor ordered.
“It’s awesome, you want to start out on the right foot in conference,” said Peterson.
A defensive struggle would follow in the Bengals’ second Big Sky matchup, this time with the Montana Grizzlies.
In the match, 18 shots would be taken on goal between the two squads, with only one finding the back of the net for each team on the way to a 1-1 final score after two overtime periods.
Peterson again led the way for ISU, finding the mark for her second goal of the season in the 76th minute to even up the score. Maddey Frey was the lone scorer for Montana, putting the visitors up 1-0 in the 61st minute.
Whenever the Bengals and Grizzlies get together on the pitch it is sure to be a scrappy battle. This contest was no exception.
“There is some emotion for sure,” said Gibson prior to the game. “It is a rematch of a playoff game from last year. We just have to focus on ourselves.”
While neither team wanted to come away from the match with a tie, there is reasonable expectation that both squads will be lined up across from each other again come playoff time this season. Either way, the 2013 conference season has gotten off to a strong start for the Bengals as they look to crack the NCAA tournament field for the second year in a row.