By LESLIE ARMSTRONG
The BYU women’s soccer team brought its 1997 season to a close this weekend with a disappointing loss in the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
The team lost to Santa Clara 1-0 Saturday after Bronco player Megan Horwath scored the only goal of the game at the eight minute mark. The Broncos’ goal put them in the lead, and BYU wasn’t able to capitalize on its five shots on goal.
The Cougars feel good about their performance at their final game, though, as well as their performance during the season as a whole.
“I feel good about the season, especially because we got invited to the NCAA championships and played the No. 3 team in the nation,” said forward Karen Robbins.
This was the team’s first trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Goalkeeper Camille Thomas said even though the team didn’t win, the game proved a lot about the team’s abilities.
“Santa Clara was a great team,” Thomas said. “The game went backwards and forwards, but no one really dominated.”
Thomas was the goalkeeper during the game and said the Santa Clara goal was a “lucky one.” She said a Santa Clara player attempted a cross pass in front of the goal that got stuck in the mud. The abrupt stop of the ball threw everyone off guard, and another Santa Clara player was able to scoop the ball from the muddy mess into the goal.
“The field was hilarious,” Thomas said. “On one side there were huge puddles. There were five inches of standing water.”
Midfielder Ashley Monahan played on the side of the field that had been badly damaged due to weather conditions and agreed that it caused problems during the game. “It was a mess,” she said. “You couldn’t even pass (the ball) on the ground because it wouldn’t move.”
Monahan said the soccer field used to be a baseball field that was converted into a soccer field and does not drain well after rain storms.
Despite poor field conditions both players said the team played well. They also said it was a great opportunity to build the team’s confidence and strengthen the BYU women’s soccer program.
“We were able to hold (Santa Clara) to 1-0. I think that will help our program,” Monahan said. “If we can stick with Santa Clara we can stick with anyone pretty much.”
Monahan said she also thinks Santa Clara gained a lot of respect for BYU’s team because of the tenacious play.
Forward Karen Robbins said the team has already been thinking of new goals for next year’s season, and one of those goals is to make it to the third round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
With a 19-4 season record and a close game against the No. 3 team in the nation, the Cougars are definitely on the right path.