Wolverines among contenders for tournament title
Christian Ledek | Sports writer | @sea_led
Photos courtesy of @gabicampbellphotos
As the women’s soccer season winds down in the Western Athletic Conference, teams are looking forward to the conference tournament that runs through Nov. 5-8 in Bakersfield, Calif. There are a few teams to look out for that could win the WAC tournament title and claim a birth in the NCAA tournament. Here are the teams to watch for.
Seattle University is currently on a 14-game unbeaten run and are the WAC regular season champions after defeating UVU on Halloween night. They just might have forgotten how to lose a game and have seemed to have become stronger as the season has progressed. They lead the WAC in shutouts with 11 and are second in goals scored per game at a clip of 2.18. The Redhawks will look to Julia Moraven and Karli White to continue their impressive balanced style of play when the tournament begins.
Cal State Bakersfield gets the benefit of playing the conference tournament on their home field. The ‘Runners are 3-5-1 in conference play and aren’t bragging about their 5-11-2 record overall, but they do boast the leading goal scorer of the WAC this year in Aminah Settles. She’s registered 10 goals in 18 games and defenses around the conference know that they can’t give her any opportunity because she will make them pay. The home field advantage, combined with Settles’ attacking play, has the ‘Runners primed for a memorable tournament experience.
The University of Missouri Kansas City will be looking to avenge their loss in the final to Seattle at last year’s conference tournament. They’ve continued to be a strong team in the conference as they are currently third overall. The Roos fire the most shots per game in the WAC with at least 20 per game. Forward Lexie Howard is tied for second in goals scored in the conference, tallying 9 so far this season. Every team knows the more goals they score, the more likely they are to win and if those 20+ shots per game find the net more often, the Roos just might win the tournament.
The Wolverines of Utah Valley are exceeding conference coaches’ expectations. Picked to finish fourth at the beginning of the year, they will head into the WAC tournament as the No. 2 seed. Sheridan Fox, Jamie Brown, and Kasandra Anderson have lead a goal-happy UVU team that is first in goals scored a game at 2.43 While the Wolverines might look like favorites, head coach Brent Anderson knows that it’s not an easy road to victory.
“There is a lot of depth and quality in the WAC,” Anderson said. “We know we’ll come against tough opponents, but when we’re focused and on our game, we’re very tough to beat.”
There’s a reason why the games aren’t played on paper because like Anderson said, there is a lot of depth to this conference. A team not mentioned in this article could end up winning the WAC tournament so be sure to tune in when it begins on Nov. 5.
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