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EOUís Erika Whitehurst fires the ball upfield in the Mountaineersí 4-0 loss to College of Idaho Friday in Eastern Oregonís home opener. BRAD MOSHER - The Observer
The visiting Lady Yotes got off to a fast start Friday and handed Eastern Oregon’s women’s soccer team its 10th loss of the season, 4-0.
The loss dropped the Lady Mountaineers to 0-3 in Cascade Collegiate Conference, while College of Idaho improved to 2-1 and kept the Yotes in the middle of the battle for a conference playoff spot.
The Lady Yotes started the scoring early, less than eight minutes into the Mountaineers’ first home match of the season.
Katy Radko was the first to send the ball into the EOU net, but then she was followed by Jessica Ayala (28:22) and Sydney Woods (29:15) to take a 3-0 halftime lead.
After building up a 3-0 lead, the visitors were only able to score one more time when Sarah Hicks put the ball in the net (54:01).
Although the Yotes dominated the game at the net, the Mountaineers came back in the second half to dominate in shots by a 13-3 margin.
The Yotes’ goalie, Melanie Holmes-Joseph, had four of her game-leading six saves in the second half to help shut down EOU’s furious attempts to score .
On the Mountaineers’ side of the net, Kailey Moss finished with two saves — all in the first half — when the Yotes barely outshot EOU by an 8-7 margin.
Kelli Jones led the EOU attack with five of the team’s 20 shots, helping the home team end up outshooting the Yotes by a 20-11 margin in the game.
Mauriana Gonzalez got off four shots and Courtney Randall finished with three shots.
The game was frustrating for EOU coach Jennifer Simonetti after watching her team let the Yotes jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first half.
“We just gave up silly goals,” she said, adding that has been a problem plaguing the team so far this season.
“We had plenty of opportunities to score,” the first-year coach added.
But as much as the team has struggled this season, it has given the coach the chance to see what her players can do and what her recruiting needs will be for the next season.
The team wasn’t communicating or playing well in the first half, Simonetti said.
The Mountaineers will be hosting Warner Pacific Friday in the second of a three-game home stand.
Warner Pacific will be coming to La Grande with a winless conference record and just one win (1-8) this season.
There are six more games left in the conference season, with all but two being at home.