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Solid performance by Mountaineers, but Tonkawa too much in the end

Cadine Graham tries to get past a defender.
Freshman Cadine Graham tries to get past a defender against Hill College earlier this season.

The Mountaineers found themselves down a goal early once again but battled hard for 90 minutes. Eastern put together arguably their best overall performance of the year but just couldn't find the back of the net to overcome the first place Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa Mavericks.

Eastern came out hard looking to capitalize on aggressive early play.  In fact Eastern had a number of chances to be up early, but were frustrated by solid goalkeeping by NOCT.  Perhaps a bit  too aggressive with their pressure, the Mountaineers were caught off guard by a fast, athletic Tonkawa team when they capitalized on a lack of communication at the back and took an early 1-0 lead that they defended for the remainder of the game.

Eastern responded with solid play on both ends, putting together its best performance of the season despite not getting the result. It was a tough result, but if it's a sign of things to come then this Eastern team will be tough to beat.

The Mountaineers dropped to 0-6, 0-2 in the Region II Conference.

HOW IT HAPPENED

- NOCT went ahead for good 10 minutes in. The two teams battled at both ends and exchanged chances with Tonkawa making the goal stand up despite Eastern's best efforts.

Head Coach Jon Evan remarked after the game:

"We put together a solid performance tonight. I'm disappointed for the boys and  I know they are hurting over the result. We finally competed on both ends for 90 minutes. Save for a few lapses in concentration and a discipline and mental toughness we are still developing to close out games we were right there. No whining, no complaining, no excuses. We have to compete like like this day in and day out to give ourselves a chance to win. No team is going to come in and give us anything. We can't count on officials, the schedule, the weather or anyone to give us a  break. It's a culture and a mindset we are developing," Evan said. "We are playing a very competitive schedule and teams will look at our record to date and come in looking to knock us down and out. Tonkawa is known to be a fast, athletic team and they have won the conference before. They sure looked good tonight. Despite our disappointment, we have to give them credit and we will look forward to the chance to rebound against them at their place."

GAME NOTES

- The Mountaineers took  8 shots placing 3 on frame.

- Despite giving up the early goal, Marc-Antoine Huzen was solid in net again picking up another 7 saves on the night.

Eastern continues region II play on the road Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. when they take on Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, OK.