Once again, the Weber State University women’s soccer season ended with a loss on penalty kicks.
Last year, the Wildcats fell to the University of Montana in the conference final. This season, they lost to Idaho State University in the semifinal round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament at Davis Field.
At the end of regulation, it was a 1-1 draw. ISU went on to advance to 4-3 in penalty kicks.
Head Coach Tim Crompton said the team played well despite the loss and was able to challenge the top-ranked team in the conference.
“Our goal coming into today was the same as it was every match that we play — we wanted to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Crompton said. “I thought we did that today. We created some very good chances for ourselves, but we didn’t put another one away.”
The Wildcats were the more dominant team, outshooting ISU 13-9 and commanding possession in the match, but couldn’t find the second goal they needed to beat the Bengals in regulation play. The Wildcats outshot the Bengals 6-4 during the opening half and earned seven corner kicks, but went into the break level at 0-0.
WSU took the lead in the 57th minute when freshman midfielder Chansi Crompton, who was recently selected as the Big Sky’s Newcomer of the Year, knocked in her fifth goal of the year to put the Wildcats ahead 1-0. Freshman forward Mackenzie Harrison had the assist on the play, her second of the season.
The Wildcats continued to control the tempo and the play after scoring the goal and nearly broke through several times for what would have been a knockout blow, but the Bengal defense fought to keep itself in the match.
With the Wildcats controlling the ball and the clock running down, ISU launched a counterattack and found the equalizer after the Wildcats were unable to clear the ball out and Amanda Ellsworth knocked it home from eight yards out in the 88th minute.
After neither team could produce the match-winner in 20 minutes of overtime, it fell to penalty kicks to decide who would advance to the conference finals.
The Bengals converted their first three penalty kicks, while WSU scored on its first, third and fourth attempts to leave the score tied at 3-3. The Bengals’ Rachel Strawn scored to make it 4-3. WSU missed its final attempt, sealing the win for ISU.
With the loss, the Wildcats wrapped up their 2012 season at 7-10-2 overall, set to return all 11 starters for 2013. WSU will bid farewell to only one senior, forward Ari Aki.
Crompton said he was thankful for the support fans gave the team throughout the year, but disappointed the team couldn’t put together a better end to the season.
“I’d really like to thank our fans for their support,” he said. “We had a great crowd come up here today, and they were very supportive. It’s unfortunately a tough way to lose a match, but I’m pleased with our effort, not just today, but all season long.”
ISU advanced to face UM on Sunday. That game also went to penalty kicks; the Bengals won again and clinched the Big Sky Conference title.