PROVO, Utah – The final curtain has come down on the Wildcats’ season.
Despite a strong early effort, the Weber State University women’s soccer team saw its 2013 campaign come to a close in the first round of the NCAA Women’s College Cup as in-state rival Brigham Young defeated the Wildcats 4-0 at South Field on Friday evening.
“I don't think we played as poorly as the score reflected,” Weber State coach Tim Crompton said. “I think anybody who saw the game could say that, but at the end of the day, they (BYU) had four (goals) and we didn't have any. We had some stretches where we were playing the way that we wanted to play. We made two or three key errors on the counter attack, and they certainly made us pay for that. We're not the first team that they have made pay for those types of plays here in the NCAA tournament, that's for sure. But disappointing for sure. I definitely think we are better than four to nothing.”
Weber State finished its 17th season of competition with a 10-5-5 overall record, earning its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005.
BYU, which improved to 15-4-1, will advance to play the winner of Colorado and fourth-seeded Denver in the second round in Tallahassee, Fla.
The Cougars finished with a 19-6 advantage in shots, with a sizable chunk of those coming after Wildcats’ defender Kellyn Olsen was sent off in the 67th minute after being adjudged to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity.
Weber State opened the match strongly and held decent possession in the opening half, but was undone by an unfortunate bounce on a corner kick that struck off the glove of Wildcats’ goalkeeper Ryann Waldman and redirected into the net to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
“It was kind of chaotic in there (on the corner),” sophomore central defender Brecken Holbrook said. “I think we thought that Ryann had it in her hands. But the ball was wet. It was hard to get a hold of, and it dropped. We thought we had saved it off the line for a second, but they ruled it in.”
BYU’s Jaiden Thornock made it 2-0 in the 31st minute, and Colette Smith and Ella Johnson scored in the second half.
“I think that in this environment, as much as you don't want to admit it, it is a different experience,” Crompton said. “And I think that in the first half, while I think we played decent, we didn't play our best. I think when the second half rolled around, the players were pretty upset that they had dug themselves a 2-0 hole, and they came out and played pretty well for the first 10 or 15 minutes. But you've got to have something to show for that, like a goal. If we had got one, it changes the momentum of the game, but we didn't come away with a goal.”
Weber State will lose four seniors – Waldman, forward Sarah Thurston, defender Bailey Eames and midfielder Alyssa Amano – from its 2013 roster, and will return nine of the 11 players who started the match next season.
The Wildcats are now 0-3-1 all-time in NCAA tournament action, with appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2013.
“I think you'd be hard pressed to find another team in the field of 64 that started a group as young as we have,” Crompton said. “But we have a group of players that certainly aren't happy that they're not playing anymore. I think maybe 10 years ago, we would be happy to just make the tournament, and that is a big deal because there are a lot of teams that aren't playing tonight, that didn't make it this far. But we've got players that are looking over their shoulder and want to still be playing, and hopefully this experience will help them get to that place.”