Elexis Schlossarek’s free kick bounced off the crossbar and away from the goal toward the end of the second period Tuesday as Idaho drew with the Central Washington Wildcats 1-1 at Guy Wicks Field in an exhibition game.
“I was hoping it would dip a little bit more,” Schlossarek said. “Next time. Next time it’s going to go in.”
The goal would have put the Vandals up 2-1.
Schlossarek, an All-Big Sky Conference honorable mention last season, tied the game at one in the 48th minute. The two teams played three 30-minute periods.
“It was a typical preseason game,” Idaho coach Derek Pittman said. “They’ve been training against each other the last 10 to 12 days so the opportunity to get out and play someone different, it’s going to give us a little different look.”
The Vandals, who finished 4-14-2 overall and 4-4-2 in the Big Sky last season, will open this season against Indiana State Friday in Missoula, Mont., at 1:30 p.m. Idaho then travels to Pullman to face Washington State Sunday at 7 p.m.
Idaho returns its top three scorers from last season and seven of its top eight. Sophomore forward/midfielder Olivia Baggerly, an All-Big Sky honorable mention last season, led the Vandals with four goals scored in 2014.
“We have great talent,” senior forward Reagan Quigley said. “We got speed up top and that’s really positive for us.”
Pittman said the offensive production that is returning this season is huge. But, it’s a new season.
“But they’ve got to step up and can’t live off of what they did last year,” Pittman said. “They got to step up and make themselves better this year.”
Pittman said goalkeeper is still an open competition among junior Torell Stewart and freshmen Julia Byerlein and Amanda Poertner. Stewart set the Idaho single-season record for saves with 113 last season.
Byerlein played the first period Tuesday, Stewart played the second and Poertner played the third.
“I think it’s still very much an open competition between our three goalkeepers so we wanted to give each of them as equal an opportunity as possible,” Pittman said. “Giving them each thirty minutes was important for us today. Torell didn’t have a whole lot to do in the second period. Amanda and Julia had a little bit more action to deal with. We’ll just go back, look at the video, see how they did and take a step back and evaluate the whole team and come back tomorrow and be ready to train what needs to be fixed.”
Pittman is still trying to piece together his starting lineup.
“We’re getting closer, but I don’t think we have the whole starting 11 nailed down just yet,” Pittman said.
While Idaho returns nine starters from last season, Pittman said the 12 newcomers (nine freshmen and three transfers) have been pushing the starters.
“We brought those 12 newcomers in to challenge those 12 returners,” Pittman said. “We did everything we could to make the competition as fierce as possible and some of those younger players have stood up and really taken hold of that opportunity. There’s others that are taking a little bit of time to kind of work through that. But we’ve been very happy with all the competition and preseason camp up to this point.”
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett