Photo by Brigham Berthold
Beginning Thursday and continuing through the weekend, Clyde Field will be playing host for the men’s soccer postseason tournament of the Western Athletic Conference as the Wolverines vie to avenge last year’s championship game loss and book another trip to the NCAA tournament. UVU was awarded the opportunity to host the tournament through a bid process.
“We’ve been looking forward to hosting this tournament since we were identified as the host,” said UVU head coach Greg Maas. “For us we needed to, first and foremost, make sure that we qualified for our own tournament.”
The Wolverines have certainly done that through the regular season, boasting a home field advantage made evident by their undefeated record at Clyde Field. UVU finished the season a perfect 8-0 on its home pitch. Dating back to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, UVU has lost just two matches at home.
“To be able to host the WAC championships and to have that No.1 or No. 2 seed going into the tournament really gives us a significant advantage that we look forward to taking advantage of,” said Maas.
Aside from the comfort and familiarity of playing at home, as host, UVU will be the only team not traveling to play in the conference tournament. After a season that spanned over three months and several road trips, tired legs become a factor for these teams. Any opportunity the Wolverines have to be the more rested team on the pitch will be crucial, as they may be shorthanded due to the late-season injury of one of their leading scorers, Skyler Milne.
For a perspective outside the team, Wolverine students and fans should attend every game of the WAC tournament at Clyde Field for a few different reasons. First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to scout the competition. What better way to prepare for the next UVU match than to go check out the next opponent’s strengths and weaknesses live in action?
Secondly, and most obviously, if the Wolverines are to win their tournament and receive an automatic bid to their second straight NCAA tournament, they’ll need the support of the 12th Wolverines. We’ve seen all season that when the student section gets roaring, it can have an effect on the opposing team (and sometimes even the officials).
Last, getting a crowd out to every game of the tournament can only help UVU’s chances of hosting additional postseason tournaments in the future. This is an opportunity for the program to show the ability to fill the stands and create a fun, competitive environment. It’s UVU’s chance to give the conference the support a postseason tournament should get.
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.