Western Wyoming Outlasts NWC 2-1
The final home game of the season was a memorable one for the Northwest College women’s soccer team, and not just because it was sophomore day.
Against Western Wyoming (10-6-1, 7-3-1), a team that blanked the Lady Trappers 4-0 earlier in the season, Northwest (0-12-1, 0-9-1) had the score knotted at 1-1 late in the second half. But with just minutes left on the clock, the Lady Mustangs’ Maylee Thompson found the back of the net off an assist by Kaitlyn Pryor for the 2-1 win.
Despite the loss, NWC head coach Bobby Peters said just the fact that the Lady Trappers were in a position to win a game against a quality opponent was a victory in itself.
“I wasn’t happy we got the loss, but I was happy with the effort,” Peters said. “The fact that they executed the game plan to where we had opportunities to win it says a lot about this team.”
Both teams exhibited excellent defense in the first half while creating scoring chances for the offense. WWCC finally broke the stalemate in the game’s 42nd minute, when midfielder Jordan Gibson scored on an assist by Thompson.
Lady Trapper Gabriele Carvalho evened the score at 1-1 with 13 minutes to play, catching a rebound off of Western’s keeper and burying it for the score.
“It was a great goal off of possession,” Peters explained. “We won the ball in our middle third, and off that play we played it forward and found Gabby [Carvalho]. She did a good job of dribbling and attacking the defense.”
As soon as Carvalho saw that she had pulled the defense out of position, she fed the ball to teammate Brandi Bedes, who was attacking Western’s back line from her striker position. Bedes had a breakaway on the keeper, who came up with a great save. The ball bounced out to Shayla Conner, whose shot was also turned away. Carvalho followed the play all the way through and was there to pick up Conner’s blocked shot and tie the game.
“It was great to get the goal, but we could have had two or three more,” Peters said. “Their goalkeeper came up with a couple of key saves. But the girls did a great job at staying active until the ball was dead, and the goal was a result of not quitting on the play.”
The game appeared to be heading to overtime, but Thompson’s goal in the final minutes prevented what could have been a major NWC upset. Peters believed the team showed they could compete, and after a season filled with ups and downs, it’s all a coach could ask for.
“Overall, I was extremely happy with how the ladies played,” he said. “They came out big — it wasn’t the result we wanted, but it was the play we wanted. They played with confidence, and that’s important at the end of the season.”
NWC keeper Kenadee Jenkins had another solid performance in net in place of an injured Christina Lacek, finishing with six saves on eight shots.
“Kenadee’s a natural, she hasn’t been trained on all the aspects of it [the goalkeeper position], but her natural athleticism really helps her, Peters said of the sophomore. “She made two or three saves last game where the shots shouldn’t have been saved — most keepers won’t get to them.
There are six other sophomores on the team besides Jenkins — including Powell natives Abbie Hogan and Kayla Atkinson — and Wednesday was a day to honor them all. Peters said the discipline and leadership they displayed over the course of a rebuilding year was appreciated and will be missed.
“We’ve realized over the course of the year that we can play with these teams — we’ve just been shooting ourselves in the foot,” Peters said. “The one thing we really focused on over the last few practices is possession with a purpose and team defense. We started turning the corner on our play style about mid-September, and it really came together today.”