The Eastern Oregon University Mountaineers finished their loaded nonconference slate undefeated.
Erika Skindlov, Josee Bassett and Morgan Farrington all scored during a dominant first half — with Farrington’s goal the first of two on the day — powering the No. 14 Mountaineers to a 6-0 win over No. 24 Hope International University (California) Tuesday at Community Stadium.
“We’re really coming along nicely,” head coach Jacob Plocher said. “Our chemistry on the field is showing. We’re doing a good job of connecting with our passes, and obviously today we did a great job of finishing opportunities.”
The win wrapped up a season-opening stretch during which EOU faced the No. 9, No. 10, No. 12 and No. 24 teams in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll. The Mountaineers were nearly perfect during nonconference play, collecting three wins and a tie, outscoring their four opponents 10-1 and pitching three shutouts.
“To go 3-0-1, to be healthy, and to be playing at the level we’re playing is nice,” Plocher said. “It goes to show that when we’re working hard, the sky truly is the limit for what we can accomplish.”
Farrington, who added an assist, said that while the start shows what the team is capable of, the players can’t let up.
“I think it says we’re at a really good spot,” she said. “We have the potential to go far, but we have to keep working like we did in this game and Embry-Riddle game. Just put our efforts in, (keep) working, and we’ll go far.”
Skindlov, one of three freshmen to start Tuesday, opened the scoring in the 16th minute by collecting a steal, taking a couple dribbles then connecting from 26 yards out for her first career goal.
“I thought we played really well today,” Skindlov said. “Sometimes we would have a breakdown on defense (but) we would pull through.”
Bassett scored her second goal of the season 12 minutes later with a free kick that worked its way through the scrum in front of the net for the goal. The score came just moments after EOU missed a golden opportunity, as a Kaitlin McLeod shot hit off the crossbar and the putback by Skindlov was saved by HIU goalkeeper Amber Vasconcellos.
Farrington wrapped up the first half putting in a header off a pass from Cailin Koupal, then found the back of the net early in the second half on a breakaway that she placed in the bottom-right corner of the net.
The junior, who started seven games last year, showed the Mountaineers’ depth with her added boost off the bench.
“Coming off the bench and me scoring two goals, it shows how good our diversity and our team is,” she said. “No matter who is on the pitch, we all trust each other, we all work well together, we all communicate.”
Plocher added that former starters who are seeing a different role early on in the season are staying prepared for when their number is called.
“It goes to show that the girls who played a lot in the past but haven’t been recently (are) staying ready, which is nice,” he said. “Morgan busted out with two goals. Abri (Cardenas) got a goal. It was nice to see, for sure.”
Cardenas and Katie Arnold added late second-half goals for the final margin.
Skindlov said while the hot start shows what the Mountaineers are capable of, they have to keep an even keel entering Cascade Collegiate Conference play.
“We cannot come out into conference cocky,” she said. “We have to still be the underdogs and work hard, and we still have so much to improve on.”
The Mountaineers (3-0-1 overall) begin CCC play Sept. 20 at Northwest Christian.