| March 20, 2018

Soccer: Northwest Showdown

May 2, 2016

Idaho women’s soccer head coach Derek Pittman has routinely stressed the importance of defense in his team’s matchups.

The Vandals delivered another strong performance on the defensive end, shutting down Central Washington 2-0 in a road trip to Ellensburg Saturday.

Junior forward Kavita Battan and freshman forward Summer Kaneshiro scored the two goals for Idaho. Battan’s goal marks the fourth score for the junior in consecutive games, after she recorded a hat trick against North Idaho College.

Pittman said the game was a mental challenge, as both teams entered the half locked in a scoreless draw. The Vandals would not score until late in the second half, as Battan and Kaneshiro scored back-to-back in a matter of minutes to claim the victory for Idaho.

“We got off to a slow start,” Pittman said. “It wasn’t until the last half of the game that we started to pick it up.”

Pittman said the three-hour commute to Ellensburg was worth the opportunity to face another collegiate competitor on the pitch.

“We knew we needed a game so we wanted to make sure we made the trek,” Pittman said.

Idaho was originally scheduled to play a doubleheader against Central Washington and Eastern Oregon in the Tri-Cities.

After learning the field was unplayable, the game was moved to Ellensburg. Eastern Oregon decided the trip would be too far, and cancelled its meeting with the Vandals.

Pittman said he believes the trip was still worth the drive.

“A lot of our subs played which is what we were hoping,” he said. “It wasn’t about our starters, it was more about getting as many players as many minutes as possible.”

As he looks over the spring season, Pittman said he believes his team has made significant improvement on the pitch.

“We’ve done a really good job of solidifying ourselves on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “We’re getting much more creative, less predictable on the attack and how we want to break other teams down. We made a lot of good improvements.”

Pittman said the team’s goal is to earn another Big Sky Conference Championship.

“Bottom line is we want to win,” he said.

The Idaho soccer team held the Vandal Soccer Academy Sunday for high school players. Pittman said local soccer participants attended, as well as players from Hawaii, California and Canada.

Tess Fox can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @tesstakesphotos

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