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Five senior played in their final Gonzaga match Sunday.
Courtesy: Gerald Barnhart

Bulldogs Close 2012 With 4-1 Win Over Eastern Washington

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 11/04/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Senior Day at the Gonzaga Soccer Field didn't disappoint as the Gonzaga University women's soccer team defeated visiting Eastern Washington University 4-1 Sunday to close the door on the 2012 season.

The victory for Gonzaga (8-11-1) showcased a perfect mix of veteran leadership and young talent.

"Today's game shows what a great foundation our senior class as laid for the future of Gonzaga soccer," explained Zag head coach Amy Edwards after the match. "I really think they set the bar high; they showed what work rate is needed, they mentored our younger players and showed what it takes to lead this program to the next level."

All five seniors contributed in the victory. The final two goals were scored by departing seniors and the senior trio of the backline held Eastern Washington (6-8-4) to just one shot after they had taken the early 1-0 advantage.

The senior class may have put the exclamation point on the win but it was the gritty play of the underclassmen and the future of the Bulldog program that allowed Gonzaga to overcome the early 1-0 deficit.

Siara Byers had given EWU the early 1-0 advantage after scoring her second goal of the season at the 33:01 mark but goals by Gonzaga sophomore Tori Lee and freshman Lauren Luke gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 halftime advantage.

Lee was able to tie the match six minutes after the Eagles took the lead. Gonzaga was awarded a free kick on top of the 18-yard box after a hard foul was called on Eastern Washington. Lee bent a brilliant shot around the Eagle wall for her first goal of the season at 39:47.

Four minutes later and a minute and a half before intermission Luke scored what would become the match-winner.  Junior Emily Eckmann hit a long ball off a free kick to the back post to Luke, whose first touch was towards goal and her second was a five-yard right-footed blast past Eagle keeper Jamie Walker.

"Tori and Luke are just a few of the younger players that are going to have very good careers at Gonzaga," explained Edwards of two of her current 14 underclassmen.

Gonzaga's third goal came at the 59:51 mark and was scored by senior Emma Dolcetti. Dolcetti, who battled back from a serious knee injury during her career at GU, headed in her fourth goal of the season off a perfect cross by freshman Sila Tuiofea.

Dolcetti ended her career with 12 goals which stands ninth in the GU record book.

The fourth and final goal was the perfect ending to Senior Day. Alicia Berggren, the consummate team player who saw action in eight matches prior to checking in at the 87:25 mark, scored her first career goal 56 seconds after making her way onto the field.

It was Dolcetti that was trying for her second goal of the match but her shot was pushed wide by Walker. Berggren, in perfect position, was there to hammer home the rebound.

"I am so happy for Emma and Alicia," said Edwards of the senior goal scorers. "It was a great way for their careers to end."

Also playing in their final match was goalkeeper Susan Brown and defenders Morgan Manchester and Anna Lund.

Brown, who came up with a huge save on an Eastern Washington breakaway in the 85th minute, finished her two-year Zag career with 186 saves and 12 career shutouts which stand sixth and third, respectively in the Gonzaga record book.

Manchester ended her career with 10 assists and started 65-straight matches dating back to her freshman campaign, while Lund helped GU to 16 shutouts during her tenure.

"I am super proud of this senior class," Edwards said. "They have done so much for this program. They probably won't reap all the rewards for what they have done but they have set this program up for some great success in the future."

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