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The Weber State University Wildcats played two important Big Sky Conference home matches over the weekend with a win against the University of North Dakota and a tie versus the University of Northern Colorado.
The Wildcats had a large victory over last-place UND on Thursday afternoon, winning the match with a score of 4-1.
WSU freshman midfielder Chansi Crompton and senior forward Ari Aki each had two goals scored for the match, coming in the 15th, 28th, 37th and 90th minutes. UND put its only goal on the Wildcats in the 26th minute.
The win for WSU marked the tie for the highest margin of victory the Wildcats have seen this year.
“I feel like we were getting those opportunities earlier in the season; we just weren’t putting them away,” said Crompton, concerning the Wildcats’ recent play and her scoring success. “Now we’re just more focused, ready to go, finally.”
In its last game of the season, the WSU soccer team played a tough match against the UNC Bears. The game ended in a 1-1 tie and guaranteed the Wildcats a spot in the Big Sky Tournament, in which they will play Idaho State University on Nov. 2. The Wildcats faced ISU earlier this month, winning the match 1-0.
The first half of the game against UNC was fairly evenly matched. WSU started the scoring in the 32nd minute. Crompton continued her scoring streak by finding the back of the net on the assist from junior forward Sarah Mager. The Bears tied up the score in the 39th minute on a cross pass by UNC freshman forward Tara Rickenbach to senior midfielder Laura Vallen, just sneaking it past WSU goalkeeper Ryann Waldman. At the end of the half, the score read 1-1.
The second half was a defensive battle, and WSU had only one shot on goal. The Bears had two shots on goal, but neither team could put the ball in due to the solid goalkeeping from both sides. At the end of regulation time, the score read 1-1, causing the need to put the game into extra time.
In the first overtime, the Wildcats were unable to place any shots on goal due to the defense of the Bears. Neither team was able to put a shot in the goal, and this led to a second period of extra time.
In the fifth minute of the second overtime, the Bears made an errant pass, intercepted by freshman forward Mackenzie Harrison. She took the shot, but it went off the fingertips of UNC goalkeeper Natalie D’Adamio. UNC had a free shot as time expired, but it was hit out of bounds by the Wildcats. The game ended in a draw with a score of 1-1.
Being the last game of the regular season for the Wildcats, the team’s seniors have seen their last home game at WSU.
“There are just a lot of emotions, you know,” Aki said. “You look out on the field, and you say it: ‘I will never play on this field again.’ It’s hard, but you’re happy for the time you did have. That’s life, I guess. As much as I didn’t want it to end, it has to — for everybody. I’m happy I get to keep playing (in the Big Sky Tournament).”
The Wildcats will face the ISU Bengals on Nov. 2 to begin the Big Sky Conference Tournament championships. WSU Head Coach Tim Crompton said he knows everyone will be looking to win and will have a fresh record under them.
“We’ve been playing extremely well, the better part of our conference season in particular,” he said. “I think we just build on what we’ve been doing . . . What’s happened earlier is irrelevant at this point. Everyone believes — once you get into the tournament. Other sports take six teams; we take four. So the season starts over; it’s a new slate.”