Home field advantage is supposed to help a team, but until the women’s soccer team played a couple of United Soccer Conference games at the end of the season on Wolverine Field, the comforts of home weren’t doing the job.
Before Utah Valley’s game against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a 5-0 Wolverine win, the team was outscored 10-1 on its home turf.
That kind of home result won’t make a team excited about playing host to the conference tournament, but the tunnel is brighter than it appears.
Since being outscored by opponents outside of the USC at home the Wolverines blasted their two conference opponents, NJIT and Delaware State, by a combined 10-1.
“If we can go into the tournament with a good seed we can end the season on a better note,” said junior forward Jenni Clough after the NJIT game.
Without question Utah Valley is better than four of the other five conference teams. The Wolverines have outscored conference opponents 23-3 with only one loss to Longwood.
And the Lancers scored late in that game to get the win.
So, Utah Valley may not have had a hot start at home, or on the road, this season but none of the teams in the conference are head and shoulders better than Utah Valley.
With a bye to start the tournament, the Wolverines will already be in position to make it to the final. And if, maybe, possibly some fans actually show up and support the team Wolverine Field may turn in to the Wolverines’ favorite place to play.
Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the young team, which started the season winless for six games and went on a four-game losing streak mid-season, except against conference opponents.
The Wolverines beat Howard 5-1, South Carolina State 6-0, NJIT 5-1, and Delaware State 5-1.
It should be an easy run to a rematch against Longwood in the final, if Longwood makes it that far.
Success against conference opponents hasn’t come as easy for the Lancers who won every conference game by a goal.
Maybe the Lancers aren’t as good as their undefeated conference record. They did beat Utah Valley late on their own field. The competition isn’t great in the conference but the Wolverines should win the thing and easily.
They won’t have to play a tough match until the final and that could easily turn into a rout if the Wolverines get clicking and put a knock on Longwood early in the match.
Utah Valley has proven it can score against this level of competition where Longwood hasn’t scored more than two goals against any conference team and scored more than two only once all season.
The season should end on a much better note in this tournament. And if not there’s always next year, when hopefully the season will start and finish on a better note.