The Utah Valley University women's soccer team takes the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye into this week's WAC Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. The Wolverines will take on sixth-seeded Grand Canyon on Friday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. MT. Tournament host Grand Canyon defeated UTRGV, 1-0, in overtime on Wednesday night to advance to the semifinal match against the Wolverines, who had a first-round bye.
Utah Valley (9-11, 5-2) had its five-game win streak snapped last week in a 2-1 setback to Seattle U in the team's regular season finale. The Wolverines wrapped up regular season play having won five of their final six matches.
The Wolverines hold an all-time 4-3 record at the WAC Tournament since joining the league in 2013. Utah Valley went 1-1 at the tournament last year with a win over NM State and a loss in the semifinals to eventual champion Seattle U.
Breanna DeWaal leads the Wolverines with nine goals this season. Breanna McCarter has six goals this year, while Amber Tripp has five. DeWaal also leads the Wolverines with 67 shots, including a team-best 35 shots on goal. DeWaal and Tori Smith lead the team with six assists apiece. Nielsen leads the team in the box with an 8-7 record and three shutouts. She has 37 saves and owns a .638 save percentage on the season.
As a team, Utah Valley has netted 32 goals while allowing opponents 30. The Wolverines average 15.0 shots a match with a .507 shots on goal percentage. The Wolverines are holding opponents to a 1.50 goals per game average. UVU also holds a 300-205 shots advantage and a 138-94 edge in corner kicks.
UVU enters a WAC Tournament semifinal match for the fourth time. The team holds an all-time 1-2 record in semifinal games at the tournament.
Grand Canyon enters Friday night's match with a 6-12-2 overall record. The team defeated CSU Bakersfield, 3-0, in its regular season finale to earn a spot in this week's WAC Tournament as the sixth seed. The Antelopes opened WAC Tournament play on Wednesday night with a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 3 seed UTRGV to advance to Friday's semifinal match. Wednesday night's game against UTRGV marked GCU's first-ever WAC Tournament match. Junior forward/midfielder McKenzie Cook scored both of GCU's goals in its 2-1 win. Cook leads the 'Lopes with five goals, five assists and 15 points this season. Senior forward Milla Benedetti has helped with four goals and one assist, while senior defender Madison Cox has also tallied four goals. Senior keeper Blakely Fraasch leads the team in goal with 80 saves and four shutouts. She has played in all 20 matches for GCU this season.
Utah Valley and Grand Canyon meet on the pitch for the 10th time on Friday. UVU holds an all-time 6-3-0 advantage over the 'Lopes. The two teams match up in Phoenix for the fifth time with the series tied at 2-2 in Phoenix. The two teams split a pair of matches last season with each team winning on its home pitch. UVU won the last matchup between the two teams, taking a 1-0 victory in Orem on Oct. 20, of this season.
Friday night's match at Grand Canyon will be broadcast live on the WAC Digital Network. Michael Potter and Jordan Angeli will be handling the play-by-play and color duties. The winner of Friday's match will advance to the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT. The winner earns the WAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Jason Erickson works in the communications office at the Utah Valley University athletic department. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.