OREM, Utah – The UMKC women’s soccer team (16-4, 7-1 WAC) punched their ticket to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament championship match after defeating host Utah Valley by a 3-0 final score on Friday night.
Opening play in the tournament in the second round of play as the top seed, UMKC squared off with the number five seed Utah Valley on their home turf with a championship appearance on the line. With the stakes raised, it was the WAC regular season champion Roos who struck first in the early moments of play.
First Team All-WAC selection Kelsey Mothershead (Smithville, Mo.) pushed UMKC out to a 1-0 lead at the 16:56 mark for the contest’s opening score. The senior forward gathered in a pass from freshman Amanda Sampson (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) on the left side of the field before firing in her team-leading 11th goal of the season to the far post.
Mothershead’s strike would be the only scoring for either side at the end of the first half of play as the Roos entered the halftime break with a slim one-goal edge. The opening period was a tightly contested 45 minutes as UMKC held a 12-8 advantage in shots and 5-4 margin in shots on goal while corner kicks were split at one apiece.
Second half action began with the Roos attacking with a flurry of offensive chances, generating three shots in the first 10 minutes of play in the closing period. The consistent pressure paid off in the 55’ as WAC Freshman of the Year Rylan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.) continued her torrid offensive pace by stealing a UVU pass on the UMKC attacking end before making a move into the box and sending a shot past the keeper to the right post.
The score to extend the lead was Childers’ tied for team-best 11th of the season and marked her fifth goal over the team’s previous four contests. Less than 10 minutes of game clock later, the Roos would tack on their third goal of the evening at the 65:05 mark to all but assure the win. Senior forward Ryann Burnett (Wichita, Kan.) sent a crafty feed across the field to fellow senior Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.), who put the match away with a rocket into the lower-corner on her 10th goal of the season.
“I am extremely proud of the way our team came out and competed tonight in a very tough match,” noted head coach Chris Cissell. “We came away with three very good goals, put together a terrific defensive effort and got impressive play from our entire bench who did a wonderful job of coming and competing.”
A stellar defensive effort by UMKC was equally as beneficial in the victory as the team stifled UVU to just eight shots and two shots on goal during the second half in picking up its 10th shutout of the season. The Roos’ back line and midfield routinely shut down attacks on their defensive side of the field, keeping goalkeeper Afton Fennewald (Lake Winnebago, Mo.) safe from any difficult save situations. Fennewald improved her record to 13-2 and picked up her ninth shutout of the season with six saves in the match.
“We are certainly very excited to reach the championship game but we are locked in on putting together another great team effort like we did tonight,” commented Cissell. “We will be matching up with another very challenging opponent and it will take a strong effort from our entire team to achieve our goal.”
The Roos are now set to face off against the number two seed Seattle U in the WAC Tournament championship, battling for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The championship match is set for Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. CT and can be seen on the WAC Digital Network.
– UMKC –