Boise State

Boise State soccer treats fans to scoring barrage, Mountain West record in home opener

Raven Sweeney might have been the only one surprised to see her shot from nearly 40 yards out find the back of the net in the 39th minute.

For her Boise State teammates, it was a rather familiar scene.

Sweeney was one of four Broncos to score a goal as the Boise State women’s soccer team won its 2019 home opener 5-2 over Eastern Washington on Sunday afternoon at the Boas Soccer Complex.

“Oh my gosh, that was beautiful. You guys should see the shots that she hits in practice. It’s amazing,” Boise State forward Raimee Sherle said. “I’m so happy that she got one today and everyone could see her capability. She’s a phenomenal player.

“We have a lot of offensive threats and this is the season where they’ve really pulled the trigger and they shine. It’s time for me to kind of take a step back and let them show up as well.”

While Sherle would willingly give up the spotlight to her teammates, it’s hard not to notice the senior from Rocky Mountain High. The Mountain West’s career goals leader (48) scored twice against Eastern Washington and assisted on senior midfielder McKenna Kynett’s goal in the 19th minute to break the conference record for career points.

Sherle now has 105 career points, surpassing the previous record of 103 set by BYU’s Aleisha Cramer-Rose.

“I’m pretty happy that I got that accomplishment, for sure, but my eyes are kind of focused right now on the Mountain West Tournament,” Sherle said. “We got a win today, which was good, but I’m not pleased with our performance.”

Eastern Washington (1-1-0) scored first on Madison Kem’s penalty kick in the seventh minute. Sherle scored the equalizer 19 seconds later, and Kynett’s first goal of the season followed in the 19th minute for a 2-1 Boise State lead.

But Riley Walkington, a freshman from Sandpoint High, tied things up again for Eastern Washington in the 31st minute.

“We were monitoring how the warm-up went today to see how they prepared and then executed that first segment of the game — the 10 to 15 minute period at the start of the game — and we looked terrible,” Boise State coach Jim Thomas said. “There wasn’t really a good part of it, to be frank, and we have talented players that when you give them moments, they can do great, great things. But when you’re evaluating a team’s performance, there’s no doubt in anybody doing their post-game stretches right now that we have to get a lot better than what we are right now.”

Boise State’s early troubles gave way to an offensive show. Sweeney, in her second season with the Broncos after transferring from Washington State, gave the Broncos a 3-2 edge at halftime. The Broncos (2-0-0) then padded their lead in the second half with an unassisted goal from senior Lillie French in the 70th minute and finally Sherle’s record-breaking goal in the 71st.

“I think we need to learn to come out faster and come out stronger,” Sherle said. “... We were calm during the warm-up and it was weird. We’re super chatty. You can’t get us to shut up most of the time, and for some reason we were just quiet. Jim and I were talking and we weren’t sure if it was just the calm before the storm or what was going to happen.

“Lesson learned, we just weren’t mentally there, we weren’t emotionally there, so we’re going to go back to the team room, kind of figure out why that happened and how not to let that happen again.”

Notes: Boise State next hosts New Mexico State at 5 p.m. Friday at the Boas Soccer Complex. ... Sweeney’s goal was her first as a Bronco. ... Senior Mikayla Schachtell assisted on Sherle’s first goal. ... Sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Smith made two saves.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman