The Utah Valley University women's soccer team will take on Seattle U in the championship match of the 2017 WAC Women's Soccer Tournament on Sunday at GCU Soccer Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. MT.
Second-seeded Utah Valley defeated tournament host and No. 6 seed Grand Canyon on Friday night, 1-0, to advance to Sunday's title match. Sunday's game will be a rematch of the 2015 title match between the two schools, a game Utah Valley won to earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Utah Valley (10-11) had its five-game win streak snapped last week in a 2-1 setback at Seattle U in the team's regular-season finale. The Wolverines did defeat Seattle U, 3-0, in a non-conference match at Clyde Field on Sept. 30. The Wolverines head into Sunday's championship match having won six of their last seven games.
The Wolverines hold an all-time 5-3 record in the WAC Tournament since joining the league in 2013. Utah Valley went 1-1 in the tournament last year with a win over NM State and a loss in the semifinals to eventual champion Seattle U. UVU advanced to the 2015 WAC title match in Bakersfield, California, where the Wolverines defeated Seattle U, 2-0, in the team's lone championship match appearance.
Breanna McCarter scored a goal in the 74th minute to defeat Grand Canyon on Friday night.The Utah Valley defense weathered GCU's 20-shot storm to record its fifth shutout of the season. UVU keeper Brooklyn Nielsen recorded a match-high seven saves while picking up the shutout in goal.
Breanna DeWaal leads the Wolverines with nine goals this season. McCarter has seven goals this year, including the game-winner against Grand Canyon on Friday. Amber Tripp has five goals. DeWaal also leads the Wolverines with 73 shots, including a team-best 38 shots on goal. DeWaal and Tori Smith lead the team with six assists apiece. Nielsen leads the team in the box with a 9-7 record and four shutouts. She has 44 saves and owns a .677 save percentage on the season.
As a team, Utah Valley has netted 33 goals while allowing opponents 30. The Wolverines average 15.0 shots a match with a .498 shots on goal percentage. The Wolverines are holding opponents to a 1.43 goals per game average. UVU also holds a 315-225 shots advantage and a 146-98 edge in corner kicks.
The Utah Valley University women's soccer team was well represented at the Western Athletic Conference awards banquet in Phoenix on Tuesday night as six Wolverines received WAC postseason honors.
Utah Valley freshman forward Tripp was named the WAC's Freshman of the Year. UVU sophomore midfielder DeWaal and sophomore defender Hannah Bruce received first-team all-WAC honors, while junior forward McCarter, senior forward Smith and senior midfielder Libby Weber were named to the all-WAC second team.
The Wolverines have attempted 146 corner kicks this season — the seventh most in the country. The team is also 13th in the nation in corner kicks per game this year at 6.90 per match. The Wolverines lead the WAC in both categories. Utah Valley ranks 24th in the nation with 37 assists this season. The Wolverines' 37 assists rank the team second in the WAC behind NM State's 37 helpers this season. DeWaal and Smith are tied for the team lead with six assists apiece. The six assists tie the pair for second in the WAC.
Seattle U enters Saturday night's match with an 8-8-3 overall record. The fourth-seeded Redhawks defeated top-seeded Kansas City, 1-0, on Friday in the semifinals to advance to the team's fifth-straight WAC Tournament championship match. Seattle U won the championship last season and has won three of the last four conference championships. UVU defeated SU to claim the 2015 championship. The Redhawks defeated a Kansas City team in the semifinals that had won eight-straight matches, including a sweep of this year's WAC regular season schedule to claim the 2017 regular season title. Jessie Ray leads the Redhawks with eight goals this season, followed closely by Leahi Manthei who has seven. Ashley Routh, who is now back from injury, owns a perfect 4-0 record in goal, all of which are shutout victories.
Utah Valley and Seattle U meet on the pitch for the 17th time Sunday. Seattle U holds an all-time 13-2-1 advantage over UVU. After dropping eight-straight matches to the Redhawks, Utah Valley was finally able to tie SU in a double overtime match in 2015. The Wolverines then picked up their first win over SU in the 2015 WAC Tournament championship match, defeating the Redhawks, 2-0, to claim the team's first WAC soccer title. Since UVU picked up the win in the 2015 WAC Tournament title match, Seattle U has won three-straight matches over the Wolverines before Utah Valley defeated the Redhawks, 3-0, earlier this year. Seattle U then returned the favor with a 2-0 win in Seattle on Oct. 28, in the regular season finale.
Sunday's WAC Championship match against Seattle U will be broadcast live on the WAC Digital Network. Michael Potter and Jordan Angeli will be handling the play-by-play and color duties.
Jason Erickson works in the communications office at the Utah Valley University athletic department. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.