Nan Kiebert and Josee Bassett were admittedly a bit delirious as they sprinted to the sideline as the No. 6 Eastern Oregon University women’s soccer team began its home match against Carroll College. The seniors had just completed a second straight shift in a nursing clinical and weren’t in their typical spots in the starting lineup for the 4 p.m. kickoff.
“We worked two straight back-to-back 12-hour shifts Thursday and Friday, and then ran from Nan’s car in our scrubs, changed and ran on the field,” Bassett said. “We just had adrenaline going.”
They provided a boost on offense once they did step on the field.
Kiebert played a corner kick that Bassett headed in for the game’s first goal late in the first half, then found Kayla Storm for a goal in the second half, and the Mountaineers began a perfect weekend with a 2-0 win over Carroll College Friday at Community Stadium.
“They’re a good team,” head coach Jacob Plocher said of Carroll. “We talked this week that it was a redemption week. Last year we were up early, they came back and we tied against them. We told (the team) we wanted to set the tone, stay on top of them early and often. It was nice to get that second goal later just to take a breath.”
EOU followed with a 4-0 win over Providence on Saturday to complete “redemption week.” Providence had given EOU its only regular season loss last year.
On what proved to be the winning goal in the 41st minute, Kiebert placed a corner kick from the right side directly to the left post, where Bassett timed her leap to put in the header for the lead and to break the stalemate.
“I just had a feeling,” Bassett said. “I said, ‘I’m going to score this.’ Nan hit it over my head the first time. I said, ‘I’m going to start a little bit further back,’ (and) I ended up connecting with the ball.”
A second great connection off a combination play led to the second goal that gave EOU some breathing room. Kiebert took a pass from Mackinley Gregus down the left side, saved it from going out of bounds, then found Storm in front of the net for a tap-in goal.
“We just did a 1-2, so I played (Gregus), got around the back line, (and) she played me back,” Kiebert said. “Luckily I was able to stop it right before it went out, looked up, saw Kayla sprinting in, and was able to place her a good ball. She was able to get there and slot it right in. I feel like we’ve been working a lot with give and goes and (with) fast play. It’s been paying off.”
The team overcame what at times seemed a struggle to get into a groove, especially early in the second half, which Plocher attributed to Carroll’s play.
“Honestly, I thought we did a good job of controlling things and moving things in the first half,” he said. “The second half Carroll came out with a little more energy, and it took us a while to find our rhythm again. But we were able to persevere at the end.”
Kiebert said the key for EOU to get going offensively is speed.
“When we shine and play our best is when we play fast. We play better against better teams when they are (putting pressure) on us,” she said.
Kiebert was again the early spark plug for the Mountaineers on Saturday against Providence as she scored the opening goal in the first half, then assisted the first of three second-half goals to give Eastern control of the match.
Cailin Koupal hooked up with Kiebert for the 1-0 lead in the 29th minute. Abri Cardenas began a scoring onslaught in the second half of three goals in 12 minutes when she scored off a pass from Kiebert in the 56th minute. Gregus scored unassisted in the 65th and then found Koupal for a goal in the 68th. It wrapped an afternoon where EOU peppered Providence to the tune of 22 shots, 11 of which were on goal.
Cydni Cottrell completed a perfect weekend in net for Eastern with nine saves in the two matches — six on Friday and three more on Saturday.
EOU (7-0-2 overall, 4-0-1 CCC) visits Oregon Tech Friday.