Lexi Robinson kicks the ball in a regular season game. The Wolverines sealed the regular season conference championships with a win over South Carolina State.
This years women’s soccer team has been put through the wringer and while they are not spotless, they have come out on top of the Great West Conference and earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The bye puts the Wolverines in the semi-finals without even playing a match.
They will take the pitch to face the winner of the Howard vs. North Dakota match Saturday, and if they pull that one out the championship match will be played Monday November 7th at 2:00p.m. ET, noon local time.
Sophomore Lexi Dunn adds to a laundry list of weekly player awards for UVU after scoring the match-winning goal that clinched the outright conference regular season championship. The score came on a direct kick from 30 yards out as she attempted to get the ball close enough for a teammate to have a shot at knocking it in.
The ball ended up going long and catching the SCSU keeper off-guard. It snuck in under the crossbar, sailing inches above the keepers out-stretched fingertips. Dunn also chipped in an assist in the Wolverines 4-0 win over South Carolina State.
With the regular season wrapped up, the Wolverines look for two more wins to seal the tournament crown and an at-large shot for the field of 64 in the NCAA tournament.
“This is a tough conference,” said head Coach Brent Anderson in an earlier interview this year. “Obviously it would be nice to have an automatic bid but we have our work cut out for us in conference. Hopefully playing some tougher teams before conference play started will help us out if we can make it through and win the Great West tournament.”
Fighting through the tough early schedule has given the Lady Wolverines plenty of confidence in themselves and their teammates.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” said senior and Provo native Jaime Lyons. “We are pretty relaxed and focused. Knowing that you can trust the girl next to you really helps to do what you have to do. If we play the way we know we can there is no reason we can’t win the tournament.”
The Wolverines’ toughest opponent may prove to be themselves as they prepare to prevent a letdown. If UVU has NCAA aspirations they have to first take care of business and win their next two games and claim the GWC tournament throne.
A 5-1 conference mark with a 10-8-1 overall record, a regular season championship, a tournament championship, and a whole lot of crossed fingers may just be enough to make it to the “big dance”. If it doesn’t shake out in the Wolverines favor, at least Anderson and his crew of young talent will have a solid foundation to make a run at it next season.
UVU’s first-round match was against North Dakota on Saturday. The Wolverines won their only previous matchup by a final score of 3-2.
Jonathan Boldt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @jboldt24.