Seattle University women’s soccer team, seeded number four, came short of their NCAA Tournament win at the Western Athletic Conference tournament that was held in Phoenix, Arizona Nov. 1-5. A hard-fought final game resulted in penalty kicks, where Seattle U came up short.
Seattle U makes its fifth appearance in the WAC Championship finals.
The Redhawks started their tournament play against New Mexico State. Laura Hooper got the Redhawks on the board in the first half as she scored from 15 yards out. She finished a pass from Jessie Ray, making a one touch shot into the back of the net. They increased their lead to 2-0 in the 48th minute as Rachel Bowler found Holly Rothering at the top of the 18- yard box.
Less than 10 minutes later, Natasha Howe cleaned up a loose ball after Rosalie Sittauer’s shot was deflected. Howe was there to put away the loose ball, extending the Redhawk’s lead to 3-0 in the 57th minute. The Redhawks closed out day one with a solid win over the Aggies, extending their stay in Phoenix a little longer as they moved on to the semifinals.
Seattle U was back on the pitch just a few days later as they took on the regular season WAC champions, University of Missouri Kansas City on Nov. 3. Once again, Seattle U started the game off with an early goal in the 17th minute. The Redhawks held on as they took down UMKC, finishing the game with a 1-0 win and granting Seattle U their fifth straight WAC Championship game appearance.
Utah Valley was Seattle U’s opponent for the championship game. Before the second half, the Redhawks took the lead with a header goal by Howe. UVU tied the game with a goal by Siri Dahl in the 89th minute, forcing overtime.
Overtime remained scoreless. What looked like the game-winning goal by Seattle U was ultimately ruled offside, and the game went to PKs. Hooper converted the first kick, but while UVU would make their next three attempts, Seattle U would make none.
“Overall I am very proud with how we performed. We had an extra game, while other teams that we played didn’t have that extra game,” head coach Julie Woodward said. “We faced adversity in the middle of the season with injuries and not getting results that we had hoped to have gotten, but how we finished the season is something that I am very impressed with. We finished strong.”
“The WAC tournament was a great experience and I think that we were playing some of our best soccer,” senior captain Madeline Recine said. “It was a bummer to end our season on PKs, but the girls showed a lot of heart, and although it is bittersweet, I’m happy with the outcome.”
Seattle U’s women’s soccer program once again had another standout season. Even when faced with adversity in the middle of the season as players battled through injuries, the Redhawks still fought their way to yet another championship game.
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