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After winning its first two conference games at home, the Weber State University women’s soccer team started its three-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah University in Cedar City on Friday evening.
The win for the Thunderbirds was their first in conference play, and stopped a two-game losing skid from going any further. Neither team was able to score in the first half, and WSU was even able to score the first goal, but SUU rallied back to claim the win.
WSU’s first and only goal came just as the second half was starting in the 49th minute, when freshman forward Lana Willard knocked in the first goal of her collegiate career off an assist from Kendra Smith.
However, the height of the moment wouldn’t last long, as a mere two minutes passed before the Thunderbirds made the equalizing goal. Megan Mower of SUU was able to get loose from the Wildcat defense and put in her first goal of the season behind Wildcat goalkeeper Danielle MacKay.
“Mower has been really trying to focus in and make the most of her senior season, and she gets a goal,” said Thunderbird coach Becky Hogan. “That is just perfect.”
While the situation was perfect for Mower, it was quite the opposite for WSU, as its goal of having a perfect season in conference play was shattered as time wound down.
The game-winning blow came in the 85th minute, this time with Thunderbird Syd Cook knocking one in the flashy form of a header, her second goal of the season.
“We’ve got to give SUU credit for this win,” said WSU coach Tim Crompton. “They played hard and physically tried to force us to play their style. We didn’t deal with it as well as we would have liked, but we will refocus, put this behind us and move forward.”
In its first two conference games, WSU took 22 and 21 shots respectively, and didn’t let its opponents get into double digits in the same category. However, in Friday’s match, WSU only recorded seven shots, eight shots short of SUU’s 15.
Despite this game being the sixth time this season out of 11 matches that they have been outshot, the Wildcats still average more than three more shots than their opponents at 14 shots per match, compared to 10.9 for their opponents.
Had WSU pulled off the victory over SUU, it would have remained in first place over Portland State University, but instead finds itself sandwiched in fourth place in the conference, after Northern Arizona University and before Idaho State University, giving fans an idea of just how tight the race to the end of the season can be.
The Wildcats still have a winning record on the road with 3-2-1, which will be put to the test in the next two games at NAU and ISU before coming home on Oct. 17 to face the currently first-place PSU Vikings. Kickoff will be at 3 p.m.