Idaho was unable to clench a spot in the Big Sky tournament, but that did not stop the team from battling it out in the Kibbie Dome. The Vandals found a way to clench the win in the last game of the season, defeating Eastern Washington 2-1.
Even before the game began, there was an energy in the Kibbie Dome. Maybe it was the Eastern Washington- Idaho rivalry, maybe it was the section of the bleachers full of fans of senior midfielder Olivia Baggerly’s, but the atmosphere felt different.
Idaho took advantage of the energy early on and put the first point on the board. Baggerly made a run-down field and took a shot on goal, but it looked as though the Eagles goalie had made the save. The crowd quieted down before realizing the opponent’s goalkeeper Emily Busselman wobbled the catch and knocked it in the goal to give Idaho a 1-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game.
It was almost unclear who was helping who more- the crowd or the Vandals as both seemed to build off of the others excitement. Baggerly’s opening goal brought a new energy to the Dome and the team carried it on throughout the game. Idaho had several close shots on goal but were unable to find the back of the net early on.
Idaho was not able to completely shut out the opponents. The Eagles leveled the score in the 34th minute with a long shot from Saige Lyons.
Both teams continued to battle it out in the final 10 minutes of the first half but were forced to settle for a tie at 1-1 heading into halftime.
After the break, it did not take the Vandals long to get going. A play from Baggerly resulted in an Idaho corner kick taken by junior midfielder Megan Goo. Goo got the ball out to junior midfielder Anna Rose Wiencek, who got a sliding kick into the back of the goal. This was Wiencek’s first goal of the season and the second of the night for the Vandals to take a 2-1 lead.
The Idaho defense kept Eastern Washington out of the goal and finished the final game of the season with a win over the Big Sky Conference regular season champs.
Idaho now has the lead in the Eastern Washington- Idaho series, 12-11-1 all-time.
Olivia Baggerly finished her career with a win and one of Idaho’s two goals of the night.
Junior goalkeeper Makayla Presgrave ended the night with three saves.
The Eagles and Vandals played aggressive throughout the game. Idaho totaled 18 fouls on the game compared to 22 of the opponents and both teams had two yellow cards.
Now the Vandals look to the off season for a chance to recover and get ready to make another run next season.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at email@example.com