Soccer sweeps the conference

In a season that started off with losses in overtime, the Utah Valley women’s soccer team shifted momentum before conference play to sweep the Great West Conference Championship along with a second consecutive GWC Tournament Championship on Monday night at Clyde Field. Utah Valley faced Howard University for the final game of the tournament and took home the win 5-2.

In regular season games, the Wolverines held a 7-11-1 record with four losses at home before the GWC tournament began. After taking home the trophy Monday night, head coach Brent Anderson was at ease.

“Right now I might be saying it’s a little bit of a relief,” Anderson said. “You know, when we started out this season we set a goal to be here. It was our last chance in the great west. The girls put it together this last month and we have been playing really well.”

As the top seed in the GWC, UVU held a secure spot into the semifinals of the tournament where they faced South Carolina State University on Sunday, Nov. 4. SCSU entered the semifinals following their victory over Delaware State.

UVU had nine minutes left in the game Sunday night against SCSU as the score showed 2-2. The Wolverines were able secure a 5-2 win following three quick goals, and Kim Stratford had the last of the night with just 12 seconds left in game time.

Before any of the conference wins for UVU, the momentum had to change for the whole team to come together and execute plays early on in the game. Anderson described the team effort from their match at BYU as a strong momentum shift to do so.

“I think they got a bit of confidence from going into that game and playing really well,” Anderson said. “I think they just recognized what they were capable of doing and they remembered what it felt like to win. They liked that feeling. We found a way to get a best of out of them. We have been playing with a lot more confidence and creativity.”

Monday night’s tournament final showed an eager Utah Valley ready to cap off their season of heavy road games and an unblemished league play. A notable player in tournament play was Jaime Lyons, who scored a team record of four assists against SCSU and another two during the final against Howard.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Lyons said. “We had a rough go at the beginning but we believed that we could win the conference—it was our goal from the beginning. This was just a full team effort and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The success of Lyons during both the tournament and GWC play earned her the award of Most Valuable Player.

“Its a great award and I feel honored,” Lyons said. “I don’t know how much I deserve it because this was a team effort. But I am very gracious for those who thought of me on this award. I didn’t do anything by myself, it was all a team effort.”

The Wolverines finished the season with a 9-11-1 overall record along with a perfect 5-0-0 GWC record. Women’s soccer ended the season fulfilling their ultimate goal to compete and win the tournament and will leave the GWC with a back-to-back tournament championship before entering the Western Athletic Conference in July.

Kevin Olsen writes a sports column at Utah Valley University and can be reached at (801) 471-8895 or kvncups12@gmail.com.

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