The women’s soccer team lost the Great West Conference semifinals 2-1 to Howard University, a startling disappointment that offset their chances at a Great West Championship Nov. 4 in Orem, Utah.
The Huskies led a rough first half, until senior defender Arielle Rodriguez weaved through the defense and scored the first goal in the lower corner of the net five minutes into the game.
Tough opposition and failed shots, however, kept efforts by both junior forward Amina Radoncic and junior midfielder Molly Missimer from succeeding.
Two potential goals were called back in the first half, one after offsides was called and the other hit the crossbar and was considered a miss.
The missed opportunities affected the team’s momentum and domineer in the first half.
“Mentally and physically we were getting tired as we had so many shots on goal without scoring,” Rodriguez said. “Momentum definitely shifted after the two goals were called back.”
The Huskies missed opportunities throughout the game as they outshot Howard 11-7 in the first half. The Huskies were uncharacteristically scattered as they were unable to connect the easy passes.
Early in the second half, the Huskies continued to pressure Howard with a 5-0 advantage of shots on goal, but were unable to capitalize on the scoreboard.
Missimer was persistent in the second half with two shots on goal that were defended by the Bison.
In the 76th minute of the match, both sophomore defender Ally Murphy of the University and senior forward Jordan Brown of Howard got yellow cards and the Bison were awarded a penalty kick.
Sophomore defender Treschelle Gibson-Serrette kicked the penalty and tied the game at 1-1.
“Had we finished some of the goals it would have been a completely different game,” said women’s soccer head coach Misty Jones. “But it was a game changer once the referee called a penalty kick with ten minutes left in the game.”
With the momentum in its favor, Howard scored just seven minutes after the penalty kick to take the lead 2-1 as Brown assisted sophomore midfielder Nia Walcott, who snuck the ball into the lower left corner of the net.
With just three minutes left to play in the game, the Huskies tried to tie the match with three final shots on goal.
The first shot by Missimer was blocked then followed by a wide shot by freshman midfielder Rebekah Tovar.
The final shot came off the head of sophomore forward Natalie Hager, which missed wide.
Senior midfielder Cindy Hedden said that they had the opportunities but were unable to capitalize with goals.
“We were the better team technically speaking but we couldn’t put it away,” Hedden said. “The few chances that they had they put away, which was the difference in the game.”
Despite missing the Great West Conference finals for the first time in four years, the Huskies placed six players on the Great West All-Conference first team with Hager, Missimer, Rodriguez, sophomore midfielder
Emily Hughes, sophomore midfielder Taylor Gibson and junior goalkeeper Shelby Horn.
Hedden, Junior forward Amina Radoncic and freshman defender Blake Martin all made Great West All-Conference second team and Rodriguez earned her first defensive player of the year honor.