EOU SEEKS FIRST-EVER TRIP TO CCC PLAYOFFS
By Raenelle Kwock
The goal: The Cascade Collegiate Conference playoffs.
The seekers: The Eastern Oregon women's soccer team.
In the past four years, the Mountaineers have never been to the playoffs.
EOU kicks off its season with three matches over a five-day span at the Northwest Nazerene University Arthur D. Ortman Invitational in Nampa, Idaho, beginning tomorrow.
The arrival of 14 freshmen makes coach Colleen Fagan excited about the possibilities this season.
She said all the freshmen are solid, and Cassie Smith of Meridian, Idaho, has emerged as the best out of the class so far.
"She's an extremely strong defender," Fagan said. "She's extremely fast."
Smith was an all-state defender in high school.
Sophomore Kristen Rice, who was second team all-conference last season, moves to defender. Rice led the Mountaineers with seven goals last season.
Among the forwards are freshman Ashlee Fitch (Bucoda, Wash.) and junior Shannon Rasmussen (Everett, Wash.).
Fagan said Fitch is quick and physical.
"She has a strong shot," the coach said.
Fagan indicated that Rasmussen also likes a physical style of play.
Second team all-conference sophomore Cydney Topping (Portland) will be the playmaker, Fagan said.
She said Topping will set up plays and be an assist person.
Tonilynn Reardon (Milwaukie), honorable mention all-conference, returns as a defender. Reardan and midfielder/defender Sarah Flesher (Eugene) are the only two seniors on the squad.
Fagan said she has four goalkeepers, including returning junior Sarah Androlewicz (Nampa, Idaho), sophomore Meave Johnson (Mendocino, Calif.), and freshmen Kristina Kennedy (Bellingham, Wash.) and Elise Hawes (Madras).
Fagan hopes the freshmen help the Mountaineers get over the hump.
Last year, six losses were by one goal. The Mountaineers won just one game last year.
Fagan said speed was a weakness last year; this season the Mountaineers have faster players.
"I'm excited," she said.
Freshman Megan Johnson (Ontario) has a "rocket for a shot," Fagan said.
Two freshmen midfielder Amber Jackson and defender Andi Jakubowski were teammates in Caldwell, Idaho.
The rest of the team are sophomores Ali Holland (Clarkston, Wash.) and Marissa Becker (Molalla); and freshmen Kathleen Bagan (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho), Megan Carrow (Salem), Rachel Cordery (Kuilua, Hawaii), Lindsay Freeland (Great Falls, Mont.), Jen Junk (Kuilua, Hawaii), Robyn Marriott (Yerington, Nev.), Tara Moran (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Jolynn Watson (Deer Park, Wash.).
Fagan said everyone will compete for starting and playing time.
"The intensity is twice what it was last year," the coach said.
EOU plays Northwest Nazarene tomorrow, Central Washington on Saturday, and Albertson College next Monday in the tourney in Nampa.
EOU's first home match is Sept. 11 against Albertson College.