EWU to face USC in NCAA Tournament for second straight season - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU to face USC in NCAA Tournament for second straight season

Photo: EWU Athletics Photo: EWU Athletics

By EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. – It's déjà vu all over again for the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team as they are headed to take on the No. 2 seeded University of Southern California at the NCAA Division I Soccer Tournament for the second year in a row. The rematch will take place in Los Angeles on Nov. 11 at noon. EWU earned a No. 14 seed and received an automatic bid after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament title for the second year in a row.

"We kind of had an idea we would be drawn with one of the top Pac-12 teams," head coach Chad Bodnar said. "It is not a big surprise and it's kind of different that we drew the same team two years in a row. Our kids are excited and USC is a very good team. We want to play the best in the country and they are definitely one of them. I think a lot of the unknowns are out of it for our kids since we have gone down there and have competed against them. We are looking forward to going back down there."

Last year marked the first time that the Eastern Washington soccer team competed in the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles also took on USC, who was ranked No. 2 and were the eventual National Champions. EWU fell by a score of 3-1, with Devan Talley scoring the lone goal, but the Eagles owned the distinction of being one of only two teams able to score on the Trojans throughout the NCAA Tournament.

Eastern Washington concluded another record-setting regular season with a program record 16 wins and went 11-1-1 at home. With the tournament victories, the Eagles finished 16-5-1 overall and went 8-1-1 in Big Sky play, setting program records for the longest consecutive unbeaten streak with 11 matches and nine in Big Sky play. EWU has scored 47 goals this season, which is sixth in the nation and also a program record. They are led by senior, and three-time Big Sky Conference MVP, Chloe Williams, who has 11 goals (25 points) on the season.

As a team, the Eagles average 17.5 shots a game, ranking 19th in the nation. The team only allows their opponents to strike an average of 8.4 times in a match.

The Trojans lost five key starters from the title-winning squad this year, including 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Mandy Greeman and 2016 Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year Sammy Jo Prudhomme. The defending champions went 14-3-1 overall this season while going 8-2-1 in the Pac-12. The Trojans are 7-1-1 at home with the lone loss against Stanford.

So far this year, USC has scored 33 goals and average 1.83 a game. The Trojans take an average of 17.8 shots a game while their opponents take 9.1. USC is led by Alex Anthony who has recorded seven goals and two assists, good for 16 points. In goal for most of the season was Kaylie Collins, who has a save percentage of .87 and a 13-3-1 record. She has allowed 15 goals in the 153 shots faced.

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