Photo by Cody Glassett
Breanna McCarter scored the game-winning goal in the 74th minute and the UVU women’s soccer team defeated the Grand Canyon ‘Lopes 1-0 in the WAC semifinals Friday night. The Wolverines advance to the championship match Sunday against Seattle. It is the second time in school history that UVU advances to the WAC final.
Sydney Fitzpatrick received the ball at midfield on the right sideline and found nothing but space in front of her. After beating a defender, Fitzpatrick played a pass into the penalty area and McCarter placed a one-time shot with her right foot into the bottom left corner for the game-winning goal.
GCU nearly got the first goal of the match in the 48th minute when a low cross went passed everybody to the back post and McKenzie Cook had a wide open shot, but Leesa Stowe stretched out her right foot to make a crucial block on the goal-line. The rebound bounced straight to Jessica Wong, but her attempt was saved by UVU goalkeeper Brooklyn Nielsen.
The Lopes wasted another opportunity in the 65th minute after a quick counter attack saw Milla Benedetti running free towards goal. Nielsen came off her line, forcing Benedetti to the right and the shot went wide of an open net. Benedetti had another chance in the 70th minute, but Nielsen denying her again with the save.
The Wolverines were outshot by the Lopes 20 to 15 on the night. UVU had five shots on goal, while GCU had eight. Breanna DeWaal led UVU with six shots, while Fitzpatrick had three shots and Stowe two. Nielsen played all 90 minutes in goal for the Wolverines, making eight saves on her way to earning a clean sheet. UVU earned eight corners during the match compared to the Lopes’ four.
The match was very physical, and the referee needed to use his whistle frequently. GCU was called for 16 fouls during the match, while UVU had eight fouls. However, only Linley Brown for UVU entered the referee’s card book with a yellow.
The win improves UVU’s overall record to 10-11-0 this season. The Wolverines have won six out of their last seven games.
The championship match will be the third game between UVU and Seattle this season. In the first match Sept. 30, UVU dominated and won 3-0 at Clyde Field. Seattle bounced back in the final regular season game Oct. 28, winning 2-0. UVU won its only WAC title back in 2015, defeating Seattle 2-0 in the final.