| March 17, 2018

Soccer: Stewart Saves Vandals

September 6, 2016

For most, Labor Day weekend means the last camping trip of summer. For others, it’s a chance to catch up on sleep and homework.

For the Idaho women’s soccer team, the long weekend meant a trip to Hawaii, to play St. Mary’s and Hawaii.

The Vandals lost 2-0 to Hawaii Thursday.

“I thought we adjusted well in the first half and kept them at bay for long periods of time,” Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said. “The players played really hard, we just never found a way to break through. In the end, they caught us on a little bit of a counter attack which ultimately led to the first goal and we didn’t react well.”

The Rainbow Wahine scored the first goal of the game in the 79th minute. As the Vandal defense collapsed, an official called a penalty kick for Hawaii. Senior goalkeeper Torell Stewart made a move toward the ball, but the low shot slipped past her fingers.

Minutes later, The Rainbow Wahine’s Kellsie Gleason’s shot sailed past Stewart and into the goal.

Idaho forced Hawaii’s goalkeeper to make five saves throughout the game. Senior forward Kavita Battan, sophomore midfielder Megan Goo and senior defender Madison Moore all made two shot attempts.

The trip to Hawaii was extra special for freshman midfielder Sophia French. Sophia’s twin sister, Lillie, plays for the Rainbow Wahine. Neither was concerned about Thursday’s game.

“We were on different teams for about a year,” Lillie said in a phone interview. “It was intense. It was kind of funny though, because we’re both so competitive with each other. Who can beat who, who could outrun the other.”

The two sported the same shoes for Thursday’s game. The twins switched one cleat with the other before leaving for college and now have a green shoe and a yellow shoe each.

After several relaxing days on the beach, Idaho tied 0-0 against St. Mary’s Sunday.

Stewart made eight saves during the game and kept the draw for Idaho in the final seconds.

“She really stepped up and played fantastic against Hawaii with some massive saves,” Pittman said. “Made two or three big saves to keep Saint Mary’s at bay and keep them scoreless. Really happy with her steps forward leading the back line and keeping us organized and doing the things she needed to do to keep the shutout.”

Saint Mary’s Hannah Diaz was moving down the left side unchecked when Stewart read her line and made her biggest save of the game.

“I thought our players fought very, very hard through some difficult conditions at times,” Pittman said. “Obviously the delay early on and the weather we had during the game. They made the necessary adjustments. I thought our team really stood up tall across the back line. It was a total team effort to get the first shutout of the season. We definitely took a step forward today.”

Stewart earned all-tournament honors.

Sophomore defender Kelly Dopke and sophomore midfielder Megan Goo also earned recognition.

The Vandals take on Seattle U 7 p.m. Friday in Seattle and Boise State noon Sunday in Boise.

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

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