PHOENIX – (Nov. 5) Seattle University women’s soccer went to penalty kicks in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship with Utah Valley Sunday afternoon. The Wolverines came away with the victory in a dramatic contest at GCU Stadium.
“I cannot begin to express the amount of pride I have for every individual on this team,” said Coach Julie Woodward. “Their commitment to working and improving each and every day and the resiliency they showed when things were not going our way was nothing short of impressive. To accomplish what they did was incredible. We had a very special group of seniors on this team and I am grateful for everything they have done for our program. We will miss them.”
A Natasha Howe goal had SU (9-8-4) in the lead for much of the day, but UVU (10-11-1) scored in the 90th minute to force overtime. The Redhawks had several chances in overtime, and tallied a goal that was waved off due to offsides, but the match continued on to penalty kicks.
Laura Hooper converted to open the action, but the Wolverines scored on their first three attempts, while Seattle U came up empty in its next three rounds.
UVU played conservatively in the opening minutes, looking to methodically work the ball down the field. SU’s defense was ready to handle any task, though, keeping the Wolverines away from Routh and the net.
In the 30th minute, Stephanie Spiekerman carried the ball up the right side. She swung in a cross to the far post, where Howe expertly redirected a header into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at 29:46. It marked Howe’s seventh career goal in the WAC Championship and her eighth career goal against the Wolverines.
The score reinvigorated the Redhawks, who worked to find a second goal. They tested the UVU defense, but the match headed to the break at a one-goal difference.
Utah Valley was more aggressive in the second half and put together a number of opportunities. Routh made four saves, including one on a line shot from Tori Smith in the final minutes to preserve the advantage. Siri Dahl scored at 89:20 to tie it, though, forcing OT.
Howe, Spiekerman, and Madeline Racine were named to the WAC All-Tournament Team. Howe scored twice, while Spiekerman posted an assist. Racine, a center back, was key in SU allowing just one goal in 290 minutes of tournament action this week.
Routh made four saves in goal and stretched the Redhawks’ shutout streak to 569:01 before UVU tied the contest.
Seattle U has appeared in five straight WAC Championship games, going 3-1-1. UVU has now taken the conference title in two of the last three seasons and will advance to the NCAA Tournament next weekend.