KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s soccer team (10-6-1, 5-0 WAC) scored a pair of second half goals to get past UT Rio Grande Valley (7-7-3, 2-2-1 WAC) in Friday’s Senior Day match.
Five seniors – Sydni Young (O’Fallon, Mo.), Nikki Lynch (Leawood, Kan.), Lilly Cobb (Glen Carbon, Ill.), Olivia Hodison (Lawrence, Kan.), Kara Priest (Overland Park, Kan.) – were honored before the game and were sent off in style with the team’s sixth straight victory and fifth straight conference win.
“We definitely didn’t have our best performance tonight but we’re very pleased to come away with the win,” commented head coach Chris Cissell. “Senior Day always comes with a lot of emotion that you have to manage and UTRGV came in with an excellent game plan and executed well, so it was by all means a tough win.”
It was rough sledding for both sides in the first half of play. UMKC and UTRGV were able to attempt just three shots and one shot on goal apiece. Threatening attacks were few and far between in the opening period as neither team generated any sustained offensive pressure.
Just five minutes into the second half, UTRGV found the opening score of the match off a free kick near midfield. Tuva Nilsen was credited with her second goal of the season as her ball took a fortunate bounce off the Roos defensive line and into the net to give the Vaqueros the lead at 50:21.
UMKC showed great resolve by fighting back with an offensive rush that would completely shift the momentum in the game. In the 62nd minute, Maddi Cipolla (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) took possession of the ball in the Roos defensive zone and quickly sent a pass up the field to Kelsey Mothershead (Smithville, Mo.). Mothershead took the feed on an impressive run through multiple defenders, finding herself with just the keeper to beat inside the box. She whistled home her sixth goal of the season on a shot from ten yards to the far post for the equalizing goal.
Moments later, it was Cipolla and Mothershead again setting up a well-crafted attack. Cipolla connected with Mothershead on a perfectly struck through-ball down the right side of the field. Mothershead angled to the middle of the field before sending a beautiful pass across the box to the diving foot of Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.), who redirected the ball into the net on her team-leading ninth goal of the season at the 66:37 mark.
The Roos refused to relinquish the 2-1 lead as the second half continued to tick away. Defense was for the most part excellent throughout the match for UMKC, with their only blemish the result of an unlucky bounce, and they were at their best as they continually turned away UTRGV attackers in the closing twenty minutes of action.
Anna Lillig (Kansas City, Mo.) was the starter between the posts for UMKC and she did not disappoint with her performance in Friday evening’s game. She stopped four of the five UTRGV shots on goal, all of which were very quality looks, and improved her record to 6-5 on the season.
“Obviously a very special night to send these five seniors out with a great win over one of the toughest opponents in the conference,” said Cissell. “Kelsey, Lexie and Maddi came up big for us in the second half but everyone played with a lot of grit and determination today which is great to see.”
UMKC will travel to put its six-game win streak to the test against New Mexico State (9-7-2, 3-1-1 WAC) on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –