Originally Published: November 8, 2018 4:45 p.m.
Updated as of Thursday, November 8, 2018 11:34 PM
PRESCOTT — On a brisk and cool afternoon in Prescott, the No. 1-seeded Embry-Riddle Eagles women’s soccer team kicked off a big sports weekend for the school with a resounding 5-0 win over No. 4 seed Marymount California in the Cal Pac Conference tournament semifinals Thursday.
The Eagles (16-2, 10-0 Cal Pac) didn’t seem to mind the cool temperatures, which were around 60 degrees at kick-off with a light breeze, as they came out firing shots on goal early and often. Their offensive aggressiveness resulted in a quick 4-0 lead only 30 minutes into the match.
Breanne Larkin put the Eagles on the board in the 5th minute on a strike from well outside the penalty box and that was followed up by a goal from Holly Ross, who like Larkin, hit her shot from 20 yards away, putting the Eagles in control in the very early going.
According to head coach Todd Poitras, the early goals were important and this is the kind of match and level of play they have been looking for all season.
“We’ve been waiting to find our rhythm. We’ve had some unfortunate games where we haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net as much as we should have and I think we cured some of that today,” Poitras said. “Getting on the board early, getting those first couple of goals early, certainly changes the face of the game and made things a little bit easier to be ourselves.”
In combination with their fast start, the Eagles also had the privilege of getting to play this year’s conferee tournament at home in front of their fans. The Eagles won the regular season Cal Pac title again this season with a perfect 10-0 record, but hosted the tournament because they won the conference tournament a season ago.
Riley Martinson said staying in your own bed beats staying in a hotel.
“I think sleeping in our own beds, waking up in your own house, being in your own locker room it definitely has a more energetic feel then being a hotel, not having a locker and just showing up and playing,” Martinson said. “It’s like defending your own turf, said sophomore Martinson.”
Looking ahead for the Eagles, they have secured their spot in the championship match at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and will face the winner of the No. 2 UC Merced Bobcats and No. 3 Benedictine-Mesa Redhawks.
The Eagles successfully defeated both clubs earlier this season, but they do both present challenges to defending champions, Poitras said.
“Either one of those teams is going to be a good battle. Merced has always been in a battle with us traditionally throughout the years. Benedictine has gotten very good in a short period of time and we just had a great battle with them last Saturday,” Poitras said. “So from either one of those we expect a good quality matchup.”
Chris Whitcomb is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @AZChris32. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.