OREM, Utah – The UMKC women’s soccer team (16-5, 7-1 WAC) fell just short in their attempt to secure their automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, falling to Seattle U (10-7-3, 6-1-1 WAC) by a score of 1-0 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament championship on Sunday afternoon.
After putting the finishing touches on a WAC regular season championship, UMKC squared off against perennial conference power Seattle U for the WAC Tournament championship with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. The matchup between the top two teams in the conference lived up to its billing and proved to be a defensive battle from start to finish.
In the first half of play, both sides were able to combine to take just 10 shots and five shots on goal as the defensive lines asserted their will. Despite holding a slight 3-2 edge in shots on goal, it was Seattle U who registered the only score in the opening 45 minutes. Following a foul call against the Roos inside their own box with under five minutes to play in the half, Kelsey Vogel converted on her penalty kick opportunity to send the match into halftime with a 1-0 Redhawks lead.
Down a goal and battling through a few key injuries stemming from a physical final two weeks of the regular season, UMKC continued to press on and fight until the end of regulation.
An excellent opportunity for the Roos to find an equalizing goal came in the 80’ as a shot taken by Rylan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.) was deflected off a Seattle U defender and sailed inches high of the crossbar, setting up a corner kick. A beautifully placed ball by Reighan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.) connected with Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.) right in front of the net but her header was unfortunately redirected off-net by a defender standing on the goal line.
“Overall, this was a really great season and I am very proud of the girls and the program for everything that we accomplished this year,” commented head coach Chris Cissell. “This is extremely painful and hurts so bad to lose like this in the championship game on a penalty kick but it should not take anything away from the remarkable achievements throughout the season.”
A valiant comeback effort by UMKC, which included seven shots and three shots on goal in the second half, ultimately would not come to fruition as the end of regulation hit with Seattle U still holding a 1-0 lead. Four players – Ry. Childers, Amanda Sampson (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Kelsey Mothershead (Smithville, Mo.) and Liz Mann (Kansas City, Mo.) – each tallied a pair of shots to lead the Roos in the match.
Barring an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, UMKC’s season concludes with the loss in the WAC Tournament championship. Regardless of what comes next, the 2018 season was a truly special one for the Roos in picking up a program-best 16 regular season wins and claiming victories over a number of major conference opponents in addition to earning a United Soccer Coaches regional ranking for four weeks. It also sends off a senior-class that currently sits as the winningest class in UMKC history that played an instrumental role in claiming back to back WAC regular season championships.
“I would like to thank the seniors for everything that they have meant to this program on and off the field over the past four years. Our senior class will be extremely missed by all of us.”
– UMKC –