Top-seeded Seattle University women’s soccer (16-2-2, 12-0-0 WAC) scored early and often as they defeated No. 4 Idaho (4-16-0, 4-8-0 WAC) in the Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. The 6-1 victory tied for Seattle U’s largest win of the season, as they extended their current winning streak to 14 games.

“I was really happy with the team’s efforts today,” said WAC Coach of the Year Julie Woodward. “I thought it was an impressive team win. Either way, the championship match is going to be a great game. We’ve battled with both of those teams in conference play and they have some talented athletes so it’s going to be a grinder, either way. I was happy I was able to rest a handful of players and I look forward to the competition on Sunday.”

This was the third match in eight days between the Redhawks and the Vandals, as Seattle U won the final two regular season matches last weekend, 3-0 in Seattle on Nov. 1 and 3-1 in Moscow on Nov. 3.

The Redhawks held offensive control early in the match as Natasha Howe (Mission Viejo, Calif.) had the first early chance in the sixth minute as she took a shot towards the right corner of the net, but the ball sailed wide. In the 14th minute, Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) played the ball to Ritzman down the middle, but the shot rebounded off the right post.

In the 25th minute, Taylor Ritzman (Holladay, Utah) scored what would be the game-winning goal as Seattle U took the 1-0 advantage after a blocked free kick on an assist by Kelly Beck (Tacoma, Wash.).

Just a minute and a half later, in the 27th minute, Beck scored her first career goal to give SU the 2-0 lead. Seattle U would go on to extend their halftime lead, 3-0, in the 42nd minute on a wide-open goal by Howe, her second of the match, on a cross by Verdoia.

The Redhawks picked up where they left off in the second half, as Howe scored her second goal of the game, assisted by Kat Prati (Moorpark, Calif.) to put Seattle U ahead, 4-0. In the 56th minute, Verdoia added her WAC-leading 14th goal of the season in the 56th minute from the left side of the box on a pass by Kiana Kraft (Kent, Wash.) to put SU ahead, 5-0.

In the 63rd minute, Idaho scored on a header by Chelsie Breen off a free kick by Elexis Schlossarek on just the Vandals’ second shot of the match, as Seattle U remained ahead, 5-1.

Julia Moravec (Spokane, Wash.) scored her fourth goal of the season on an assist by Monique Escalera (Riverside, Calif.) to extend the Redhawk head, 6-1, in the 72nd minute, which proved to be the final score.

“It was really awesome to see everyone get a chance to make such a difference today,” said Howe. “I think we really proved that we deserve to go to the championship game. I believe we’ll do the same thing in this next game. I’m just glad I could contribute, but there were six goals so four others scored so everyone made a difference.”

Verdoia led the Redhawks with six shots, two on goal, also adding a goal and an assist, as SU outshot, Idaho, 23-5. Seattle U also drew seven corner kicks to the Vandals’ two.

In goal, Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.) made one save in just over 60 minutes in goal, while Aris Coover (Bellevue, Wash.) made her fourth appearance of the season, allowing one goal and making one save.

The Redhawks advance to the WAC Tournament championship on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. MT/11 a.m. PT where they will face the winner of No. 2 Kansas City and No. 3 Utah Valley.

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