Immense passion was left on the field during the Seattle University women’s soccer 2015 season, however on Sunday afternoon Seattle U left the pitch feeling a bit of remorse.
After a 2-0 loss at the hands of Utah Valley (UVU), the Redhawks were denied their third consecutive Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship. Seattle U finishes the season with an outstanding record of 14-3-3, and had shown their defensive prowess over the course of the term. Seattle U outscored their opponents 40-14, with the backline holding out for an equally impressive 13 clean sheets. Seattle U was also riding 16 game undefeated streak, the longest in the nation.
Ultimately the title match featured a rare defensive error that led to UVU’s opening goal, scored by Taylor Kirk. After a giveaway, the Wolverine forward drove into the heart of Seattle U’s defense and found a way past Redhawk’s goalkeeper Brianna Smallidge. Again it was Kirk who caused problems in the 69th minute as she sent a guiding through ball into the path of Sara Callister who was able to double UVU’s advantage. Seattle U was unable to conjure up a response in time as the Wolverines snatched the title of WAC champions that Seattle U had held so close for the past two seasons.
Head coach Julie Woodward, after her 19th season in charge of the Redhawks, was not shy from praising her squad even amidst the dismay that she won’t get another chance at the NCAA tournament for another year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the senior leadership this year and, while it would’ve been great for the seniors to go out with a third conference championship, I’m really proud of this entire team and everything they’ve accomplished this year,” Woodward said. Woodward went on to praise Utah Valley, giving them credit for finishing the opportunities that they had.“They’re a good team and I think they’ll represent our conference well in the NCAA tournament.”
Seattle U had previously knocked off Cal State Bakersfield in the WAC semifinal by a score of 2-0 with goals from Kiana Kraft and Julia Moravec. Moravec assisted on Kraft’s goal and improved her assist tally on the year to 12, one shy of Stephanie Verdoia’s single season record. Moravec also posted a team high 10 goals and was awarded the WAC offensive player of the year.
Next season Seattle U will have to cope without the likes of Moravec, Kraft, Smallidge, Kelly Beck, Sarah Coluccio and Stephanie Conrad. Beck, Moravec and Karli White all represented the Redhawks on the all-tournament team. White, a freshman, finished the year with nine goals including six game winners and will be eager to add to that tally next time round.
Moravec, White, Smallidge, Beck, Madeline Racine and Stephanie Speakermann started all 20 matches for Seattle U this year, with Hope Fleckner, Summer Mason, Kayla Danforth and Hannah Carrothers also featuring in the entirety of Seattle U games this year.
Smallidge finished her career as a Redhawk with a total of 81 games started, including every match as a sophomore, junior and senior. She also kept goal for 28 clean sheets and made a total of 265 saves.
The Redhawks hope to rebuild in the spring season and have their sights set on regaining the WAC title in 2016.
Chaucer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaucer Larson is a sophomore Journalism and Spanish double major. Originally from Missoula, Montana, Chaucer enjoys covering sports for the Spectator, especially soccer, and has recently begun commentating matches for the school radio, KXSU. Catch Chaucer and say hello on campus before he heads out to Puebla, Mexico to study abroad Winter and Spring quarter.