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With the win, Seattle U earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Courtesy: Barbara Carlson
Women's Soccer Wins WAC Tournament Championship
Courtesy: Seattle University  
Release:  11/10/2013
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Kansas City (12-9-1) held Western Athletic Conference Regular Season Champion Seattle U (17-2-2) scoreless through nearly 30 minutes of play, but the Redhawks emerged victorious as the WAC Tournament Champions with a 3-0 victory.

“First of all, I just want to take a moment to thank the WAC and its administrators and our tournament host, New Mexico State,” said head coach Julie Woodward. “Heading to the NCAA’s, I’m really proud of my team and everything they’ve done this year and we’re looking forward to playing next week.”

With the win, women’s soccer becomes Seattle U’s first overall team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament since reclassifying back to Division I and SU’s first ever women’s soccer team to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Extending their current winning streak to 15 games, this is the Redhawks’ 11th shutout of 2013, marking the third 3-0 shutout vs. UMKC for SU this season.

Thirty seconds in, Seattle U had their best early chance to score on an open shot by  Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) but a save by Nina Tzianos kept the ball out of the net.

In the 16th minute, Verdoia drove the ball to the edge of the 18 yard box, fighting past the UMKC backline, adding another shot, but the ball sailed wide.

Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.) kept the Redhawks alive with a key save in the 21st minute on a long shot by Alyssa Elver from about 20 yards out.

In the 30th minute, Kat Prati (Moorpark, Calif.) scored the game-winning goal for the Redhawks, her first of the season, assisted by Natasha Howe (Mission Viejo, Calif.).

Just four minutes later, in the beginning of the 34th minute, Verdoia scored her WAC-leading 15th goal of the season to give Seattle U the 2-0 lead going into halftime.

Kansas City’s Emily Herndon added a shot in the 53rd minute following a corner kick by Kaely Tott but the ball bounced high over the net as Seattle U held on to a two goal lead. Prati and Verdoia added back-to-back shots for SU in the 57th minute, but they were blocked and wide, respectively.

Julia Besagno (Maple Valley, Wash.) put the Redhawks ahead, 3-0, on her fifth penalty kick of the season in the 60th minute after Verdoia was taken down in the box. The three goal margin proved to be the final margin of victory.

Kiana Kraft (Kent, Wash.), Besagno, and Verdoia were named to the All-Tournament team and Monique Escalera (Riverside, Calif.) was named the Tournament MVP.

The Redhawks will learn their NCAA fate on NCAA.com as the Women’s Soccer Selection Show is broadcast at 1:30 pm PT on Monday, Nov. 11. Stay tuned to GoSeattleU.com, Seattle U Athletics on Facebook, @su_athletics on Twitter, and su_redhawks on Instagram for all the latest updates.

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