It has been a slow start for the UVU women’s soccer team, who have had many close battles in the early portion of the season, and look to gain some momentum heading into the pivotal conference play portion of their schedule.
The Wolverines were picked to finish second among WAC competitors and finished the non-conference schedule with a 2-5 record. Which included a tight match against former Great West Conference foe, Houston Baptist, with the Huskies gaining a 1-0 edge on Sept. 7.
The Wolverines were able to finish the non-conference schedule on somewhat of a high note moving forward, as they defeated UC Davis 2-1 on Sept. 15 at Clyde Field.
The history between these two teams wasn’t looking good for the Wolverines who were 0-3 all-time against the Aggies. Looking to turn it around this season, the Wolverines headed into the match well rested and hungry for a victory.
The Wolverines came out fast and looking to score quickly. They took a 2-0 lead early in the match with a goal by Natalie Baker in the 16th minute, and another from Lexi Robison in the 21st.
The Aggies fought back, hoping to keep its win-streak alive against the Wolverines, and came out attacking the UVU defense, to even things up. The Aggies were successful in getting a goal in the 49th minute, but it was not enough to stage a comeback as the Wolverines defense tightened down, not allowing another goal.
“UC Davis is a dangerous team and we knew we would have to be strong defensively to compete against them,” said UVU head coach Brent Anderson. “We got a couple quick strikes from Natalie and Lexi, but the team really had to buckle down and defend in the second half. But I think we got a great performance from the entire defense.”
The defense for the Wolverines has been pretty solid for them so far in the young season, keeping them close in games. That defensive game, coupled with great offensive output can help put UVU on the map when they start conference play.
“This sets us up for a great match next week against Bakersfield as we kick off the WAC,” Anderson said. “I think there’s a positive tone for the team right now and we’ll build on this and go forward into the WAC.”
The week also proved to be a successful one for Natalie Baker who was honored as the WAC player of the week. The award is the first for Baker and the team as a whole. The award came for her efforts in the game against UC Davis, where she came away with the first goal of the game, and assisted on the game-clinching goal. Baker currently is fifth on the list of top-scores at UVU with 17 goals.
With conference play now beginning, it can be said that the real season now begins. The Wolverines look to take advantage of having some familiarity with the opponents in the conference. And also use the non-conference schedule as a learning curve for their young team and make a name in the WAC.