The Weber State University women’s soccer team’s home opener against the University of Wyoming ended with the Wildcats falling to their third loss of the season.

Head Coach Tim Crompton went into the game Sunday afternoon knowing some players likely wouldn’t play due to injuries, but looked at it as an opportunity for younger players to get some playing time early in the season.

“We have some players working their way back from injuries,” Crompton said before the game. “It’ll be a great opportunity for other players to step up.”

For much of the first half, play was evenly balanced, with neither team finding many scoring attempts. When halftime came, the score was 0-0. The Wildcats controlled the ball well in the first half, but were unable to find the final pass in the attacking third of the field.

The second half started with UW seizing control and pushing down the pitch into WSU’s defensive third. The Cowgirls took the lead off a WSU turnover early in the second half. In the 49th minute, Lucie McDowell scored the only goal of the match, capitalizing off of a Wildcat turnover and chipping the ball into the net.

Throughout the match, WSU struggled to keep possession. Multiple times during the game, WSU would win the ball and then turn it over on its second touch. WSU stayed competitive for much of the match and finished with eight shots. UW finished the match with 10 shots.

Freshman forward Mackenzie Harrison had three of the Wildcats’ eight shots; two of her shots were on target. Freshman defender Brecken Holbrook, who played 90 minutes in the three matches this year, had WSU’s third shot as she tried to score off of a 35-yard free kick, but the attempt was saved by UW goalkeeper Carmen McDermott.

Despite the tough start to the season, WSU’s Kendra Bailey said she is looking forward to the upcoming conference season and feels the team will see the benefits of its hard work.

“We’re looking forward to getting out there and playing,” Bailey said. “ . . . We put a in a lot of hard work and we want to see what we can do.”

Crompton said WSU has a tough non-conference schedule, but that he hopes his team can build some momentum before starting conference play in late September.

“It’s all a process,” Crompton said, “but even here in the early non-conference part of our season, we still want to try and put ourselves in a position where we have a chance to get a result.”

The Wildcats will host in-state rival University of Utah on Saturday at noon. Following the match against the Utes, WSU will stay at home and take on Utah Valley University on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Then they will head on the road, playing a number of non-conference matches before opening up Big Sky play on Sept. 21 against Eastern Washington University.

WSU was picked to finish fourth in the Big Sky Conference in the preseason poll.

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