Williams all-time tops in points as Eastern Eagles win at South Dakota

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VERMILLION, SD –­­–(EWU release) Junior Chloe Williams made history yet again on Friday, Sept. 16, as she became Eastern Washington’s all-time points leader with a goal the 16th minute to lead the Eagles to a 3-1 victory at South Dakota in the final match of their season-long seven-game road trip.

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Chloe Williams (EWU photo)

The record-setting goal was the fifth of the season for Williams, as it pushed her career points total to 57, breaking a tie with previous record holder Cassie Black (2011-14), who posted 55 points during her four-year career at EWU. Williams’ 57 career points adds to an already historic resume for the junior. She entered this season as the program’s all-time assists leader – she currently has 13 career assists – and she is currently second on the program’s all-time goals list with 22, just two behind Black’s current mark of 24.

The script was flipped on Eastern a bit in the early stages of the match, as South Dakota’s Corey Strang floated a shot into the net in the seventh minute to make it 1-0, Coyotes. USD would not be able to hold on to its earlier lead over the Eagles, as Williams scored her historic equalizer in the 16th minute to knot the match up at 1-1, while also collecting her school-record 57th point.

 

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Eastern Washington EaglesEastern Washington would find pay dirt again in the closing seconds of the first half, as sophomore Alexis Stephenson scored her first career goal with 31 seconds left in the frame. Stephenson found a loose cross sent in by Williams off a corner just steps away from the six-yard box, and buried the shot to send the Eagles into the locker room with a 2-1 advantage.

That would be the start of a career-day for Stephenson. The sophomore would later recorded her first assist of the year on Kiana Hafferty‘s goal in the 82nd minute, who drilled a shot from 30-yards out, to put a cap on a three-point day and give Eastern a 3-1 victory to conclude a near month-long road trip with a 4-1-1 record.

“The main thing today was getting through a lot of tired legs, it’s been a long road trip and I think our kids showed a lot of toughness,” said head coach Chad Bodnar. “Winning on the road is doing things right in terms of how we travel and rest. We just want to have that mentality of finding a way to win, whether we are on the road or at home.”

Win-Loss Record
Eastern Washington improves to 6-1-1, while South Dakota falls to 1-7-1 on the 2016 season.

What It Means
The Eagles end their longest road trip of the season with a 4-1-1 record. The excursion began on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas, and ended 21 days later with a win in Vermillion, S.D. EWU played in Nevada, Washington, California, Nebraska and South Dakota during the span of the voyage.

Keys to the Game
It took some time for the offense to find its rhythm, but once the Eagles established their game, they played with the aggressiveness that has been a cornerstone for the program since Coach Bodnar arrival three seasons ago. EWU outshot the Coyotes 10-9, with six shots finding the mark. They were also awarded seven corner kicks, and converted on one with Stephenson’s goal in the 45th minute.

Top Performers
Chloe Williams now holds the EWU record for most points in a career after she scored her fifth goal of the season in the 16th minute. She now has 57 career points, surpassing Cassie Black’s previous record of 55. Black held the record for a little less than two years.

Alexis Stephenson scored in bunches today, collecting her first points of the season. In addition to her game-winning first career goal in the 45th minute, she assisted on the Eagles’ third goal.

Kiana Hafferty scored her first goal of the year on the only shot she took in the match.

Turning Point
With the final minute of the first half ticking down, Eastern Washington was awarded a corner kick with the match tied at 1-1. Williams played the set piece quickly and after a scramble for the loose ball, Alexis Stephenson gained control and ripped a shot into the back of the next with 31 seconds remaining in the frame to give EWU a 2-1 they would never relinquish.

Team Highlights
After allowing an early goal, the EWU defense stepped up its effort and kept the Coyotes off the board for the final 83 minutes of play. Junior Emily Busselman subbed into the goal at the break and saved USD’s lone shot on goal in the final 45 minutes.

Notables
Chloe Williams etched her name into the Eastern Washington record book yet again on Friday, as her goal in the 16th minute pushed her career point total to 57, breaking a tie with Cassie Black on the program’s all-time points list.

Williams’ hot offensive streak continues, as she has now scored four goals over the last four matches. The Spokane, Washington native also breaks a tie with junior Savannah Hoekstra for the team lead in goals, as Williams now has five on the year.

Alexis Stephenson scored her first collegiate goal today as well as her first assist of the 2016 season.

Kiana Hafferty scored her first goal of the season and the third of her career. The last goal she scored was during the 2014-15 season over a year ago.

Junior Emily Busselman recorded her first career save in a EWU uniform on Friday.

Bodnar Bites
On Chloe Williams breaking the point’s record: “She is a special player, and she is just going to improve moving forward. We still have quite a bit of time with Chloe, and I think she is just going to continue to get better. She is just starting to hit her stride now as the season goes on. She is a great player to have on your team. Every time she gets the ball she is (a threat to score), and our players really rally behind her.”

What’s Next
The Eagles finally make their way back to Cheney, Washington next week, playing their first game in at home since August 22. They will face-off against Idaho State in the first Big Sky Conference match of the season on Friday, September 23 starting at 3 p.m. PST.

For more information, and exclusive content, on the Eastern Washington soccer team, follow @EWUSoccer on Twitter.

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