SEATTLE, WA— (GoSeattleU.com) An offensive explosion from the very beginning, Seattle University women’s soccer (13-4-2) jumped out to a 5-0 lead at half time and added two more goals to earn a 7-0 win over New Mexico State (5-17-0) in the Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals. The No. 1 seed Redhawks advance to their second straight WAC championship game after winning the tournament in 2013.
Match photos: Wilson Tsoi captures Seattle’s rout
The Redhawks will face No. 2 Kansas City in the WAC championship game on Sunday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. The winner will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. UMKC edged Utah Valley 1-0 in the other semifinal.
“It was a great team effort for us tonight to have seven goals scored by seven different players,” said head coach Julie Woodward. “It shows how great the teamwork is on this team. I want to give special recognition to Kiana – she has worked so hard and for her to be involved in four different goals was great for her tonight. We are now looking forward to seeing who we play and we will be ready to go on Sunday.”
Natasha Howe (Mission Viejo, Calif.) would drive home the game-winner in just the third minute off a previously saved shot taken by Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) and the Redhawks never looked back.
Verdoia would add the second goal in the 17th minute, tying Seattle U’s single season goals record with 20 on the 2014 season thus far.
Also adding goals in the first half were Julia Moravec (Spokane, Wash.) on a cross by Kiana Kraft (Kent, Wash.) and Taylor Ritzman (Holladay, Utah), assisted by Moravec. Kraft added a goal of her own in the 23rd minute, tallying a career high five points total on the match.
Ahead 5-0 at half, Seattle U’s Isabella Guerry (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and Jacqui Wallis (Lake Oswego, Ore.) would add another pair of goals for insurance, with the last coming just a minute and 20 seconds before the end of the game. Kraft and Stephanie Spiekerman (Seattle, Wash.) tallied assists on the two goals, respectively.
Seattle U outshot New Mexico State, 35-5, in the shutout, with Verdoia tallying nine of the Redhawks’ shots. Jennae Cambra took four of the Aggies’ five.
In goal, Taylor Rice allowed all seven goals, making 10 saves in the complete game loss for NM State. Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.) earned the victory for Seattle U with one save in nearly 70 minutes of play. Aris Coover (Bellevue, Wash.) entered in goal for SU for the final 20:17 of the match.
The first 120 students who attend Seattle U’s Senior Day volleyball game on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. will receive a voucher for free admission to Sunday’s title game.
Fans are encouraged to keep voting for Verdoia for the Senior CLASS Award at http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com once per day per device until Nov. 24. Fan voting will count for 1/3 of the final tally towards the winner.
Stay tuned to GoSeattleU.com as well as Facebook (Seattle U Athletics; Seattle U Women’s Soccer; Western Athletic Conference), Twitter (@su_athletics; @seattleuwsoc; @wacsports), and Instagram (su_redhawks; seattleuwsoc; wacsports) leading up to Sunday’s championship game.
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