On a night that ended with slippery rain, the UVU women’s soccer team saw their hopes at repeating as WAC tournament champions slip away with a 3-0 loss to top-seeded UMKC (University of Missouri-Kansas City.)
The Wolverines came out firing as they looked to build off the momentum they created by beating GCU on Oct. 31, but the chances they created came up empty. Senior forward Sara Callister, who initiated the scoring against GCU, was up to her old tricks early against Kansas City.
Just five minutes into the game, Callister took a pass from fellow senior Leesa Stowe inside the box and looked to kick off the scoring again, but the attempt fell short and was saved by UMKC freshman keeper Afton Fennewald. Callister continued orchestrating the attack moments later when she took another service pass from Stowe and crossed it beautifully in front of the goal, but no fellow Wolverines were in position to capitalize.
In the 17th minute, UMKC got on the board with a goal by senior forward Kelsey Mothershead, who has been scoring all year long. Mothershead took the pass from freshman Amanda Sampson and beat the UVU defenders. Senior UVU goalkeeper Sarah Davis came to meet her, but she scooted the ball past and found the back of the net. The goal was her 11th of the season.
Despite the lack of ability to capitalize on offense, UVU was very much in the game for the whole first half. The UVU attacking trio of seniors Bre McCarter and Sara Callister, in addition to freshman phenom Sadie Brockbank, were unable to find paydirt and score. McCarter and Brockbank both had multiple shots on goal but could not connect. Much credit is to be given to Fennewald, the Kansas City keeper. The freshman deflected multiple shots over the net that were rifled off the feet said UVU attackers, the most impressive of which came from Brockbank. Late in the first half, Sadie ripped a shot from outside the box that appeared to be a sure goal, but Fennewald got just enough hand on it to knock it out of bounds.Along with those chances, Davis made the most of her last match and kept the Wolverines close with four saves in the first half, although she had the one blemish.
“First of all, I want to let our seniors know how much we appreciate everything they have given to our program,” said UVU head coach Chris Lemay. “These seniors have represented our team and the university with the highest standards. They are terrific young women and we certainly wish them the very best moving forward. I’m proud of how our team played tonight.”
UMKC continued to show why they were the number one seed in the conference. In the 56th minute, the ‘Roos doubled their lead on a goal from freshman forward Rylan Childers. Childers received the ball and raced past Stowe and connected on her shot, scoring her 11th goal of the year as well.
Ten minutes later, UMKC delivered the final blow on a pass that was sent clear from their own defensive backline to a sprinting Lexie Howard, a senior forward who was looking to get in the double-digit goal scoring club as well. Howard snuck the ball inside the left post, just out of the reach of UVU’s Davis, and the lead was extended to three goals.
UVU finished the season with a record of 5-14-2, with a majority of the losses coming during one of the toughest non-conference schedules that the team has ever faced. They finished conference play with three victories, four losses, and one draw, resulting in the number five seed in the conference tournament. Although they came short of another NCAA tournament birth, this team has plenty to be proud of and the outgoing seniors have established a legacy of winning that the younger players will carry into next season.
Photo courtesy of: UVU Athletics