KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s soccer team (12-6-1, 7-0 WAC) wrapped up a remarkable season with yesterday’s 8-0 win over Chicago State, securing an outright Western Athletic Conference championship and navigating through an undefeated conference schedule.
The 2017 campaign got off to a bit of a shaky start for the Roos as they battled through a challenging nonconference slate. The team entered the WAC schedule with a 5-6-1 record, after facing several formidable opponents including Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Drake, and Creighton. Oklahoma State (32) and Drake (78) each rank among the top-100 nationally in RPI.
Sitting with a record of 2-5-1 after their first eight contests, UMKC generated solid momentum in closing out the nonconference schedule as they picked up three wins in four matches, outscoring opponents 7-1 in that span. It was a sign of greater things to come for the Roos, leading the way to an undefeated WAC record and regular season championship.
“It’s hard to put into words just how proud I am of this entire team and what they have accomplished thus far in the 2017 season,” commented head coach Chris Cissell. “We have really come into our own in all phases of the game, playing well in the attacking third, holding possession and making great passes in the midfield, our defensive line continuing to limit opposing chances and our keepers coming up with great saves game in, game out.”
UMKC opened up WAC play with two statement wins over Utah Valley and Seattle U, winning both games by a 3-0 final score. Seattle U came off a perfect 7-0 conference record, as well as a regular season and WAC Tournament championship in 2016. Utah Valley finished the 2017 with a 6-1 conference record, its only loss coming to the Roos.
“As a freshman, I couldn’t have asked for a better team and season to start off my college career,” said freshman midfielder Liz Mann (Kansas City, Mo.). “Our entire team has worked really hard to get where we’re at through our effort in practice and our desire to win each time we step on the field.”
The first conference road trip for UMKC was a very successful one, as the team traveled to west coast to secure two more WAC wins over CSU Bakersfield and Grand Canyon. Despite the excessive travel, the Roos were not willing to let it slow them down. Reighan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.) was a clutch performer on the weekend, scoring all three UMKC goals, including a golden goal in the 1-0 OT win at GCU.
The Oct. 20 home contest against UT Rio Grande Valley was a senior day to remember for the Roos, as they sent 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.) – off with a 2-1 win. The 2017 senior class has been one of the most successful groups in UMKC history, bringing in a WAC co-championship in 2014 and now claiming an outright championship in their final season.
“Overall, I think the success we’ve had this season is due to the unified team effort and being a complete team from the front line to the back,” noted sophomore defender Abby Small (Kansas City, Mo.). “After falling short last season, it was important for us to come back strong this year and we have a phenomenal opportunity ahead of us in the WAC Tournament.”
A 1-0 road win at New Mexico State clinched the top seed in the WAC Tournament on Oct. 22 and left the Roos one win away from securing the regular season championship. Chicago State proved to be no match for the red-hot Roos, powering their way to an 8-0 road win to end the season on an eight-game winning streak and put the finishing touches on an undefeated WAC schedule.
While it has been an incredible run thus far in the 2017 campaign, the season is far from over and UMKC has shifted its focus entirely to the next task at hand. Regardless of what happens in the WAC Tournament, the team’s success cannot be taken away but the group is determined to keep the wins coming.
“We are excited for the upcoming tournament next week,” said junior forward Kelsey Mothershead (Smithville, Mo.). “Our team has been playing really well throughout conference play and we are prepared do whatever it takes to bring home a WAC Tournament championship.”
“The season has been such an incredible journey,” remarked junior forward Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.), the team’s leading goal scorer. “We started with two ultimate goals: win the regular season and win the conference tournament. This upcoming week gives us the chance to achieve both and we will continue to push hard like we have the entire season.”
“We are all ready and determined to win the WAC Tournament and make it to nationals,” said Mann. “We want to make this a defining season for our program and accomplish something that hasn’t been achieved in the past.”
“We accomplished one of our goals by winning the regular season championship and doing so in such a dominant manner, giving up just one goal in WAC play and outscoring WAC opponents 20-1, was absolutely phenomenal,” noted Cissell. “We still have work to do, however, as winning the conference tournament and securing a spot in the national tournament is equally as important so staying focused is key.”
UMKC will begin play in the WAC Tournament on Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. CT in Phoenix, Ariz. The top seeded Roos will play the winner of Thursday’s match between fourth seed Seattle U and fifth seed New Mexico State. All tournament games will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –