The women’s soccer team had a rocky preseason with three straight losses to open the season but kicked off their conference schedule with a 2–0 record.

Weber State fights to regain possession during their game against UC Riverside. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
Weber State fights to regain possession during their game against UC Riverside. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)

“Wins were important, but not essential,” Wildcat head coach Craig Sanders said. “We played some tough teams, and they honed us a little bit, but we really invested in evaluating rather than just trying to win games.”

After two wins and two losses, Weber State University took to Oklahoma for a final win before the conference schedule began.

“It’s anyone’s game. We give people respect, but we’re going hard no matter who it is,” junior goalkeeper Mekell Moss said.

A Weber State Wildcat and a UC Riverside Highlander fight head to head for control of the game.  (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
A Weber State Wildcat and a UC Riverside Highlander fight for control of the game. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)

Weber State left Oklahoma with a 3–5 record and non-conference play completed.

“I’m very happy with the performance, but that wasn’t the major priority,” Sanders said. “It was about developing players to be ready for the conference. I think that puts us in a very good position, and we got better each week.”

The Wildcats were voted the sixth-best team in the 2021 Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll, receiving one first-place vote.

Senior goalkeeper Kaytlin Bradley believes her team has all the tools necessary to win. She described what the team calls “the four seasons,” an approach to the season that breaks it up into four separate parts.

The first season is exhibition play, second is non-conference play, third is Big Sky conference season and the fourth and final season is tournament play, which is the most important to the team.

Weber State's Shea Christiansen steals the ball from UC Riverside's Vanessa Cruz. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
Weber State's Shea Christiansen, 14, steals the ball from UC Riverside's Vanessa Cruz, 27. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)

On Sept. 24, the Wildcats began their “third season” when the team opened Big Sky play against the University of Idaho and defeated the visiting Vandals 2–1 in a comeback overtime victory.

Weber State trailed 1–0 at halftime but turned up the intensity in the second period and fired off 15 shots-on-goal to Idaho’s three.

Sophomore midfielder Yira Yoggerst buried the ball in the back of the Vandals’ goal in the 53rd minute of play, tying the score at 1–1 on Wildcat Soccer Field.

In the 103rd minute of play, McConnell kicked a pass up towards senior midfielder Taylor Slack who headed in the game-winning goal for the ‘Cats as her teammates rushed the field to celebrate.

“We know who can do what, so now it’s gametime,” Sanders said of Big Sky play. “There’s nobody we can’t beat.”

Goalkeepers Bradley and Moss switched off as they each played every other game in non-conference play, and the trend continued into the first two Big Sky schedule.

Bradley occupied the goalie box against the Vandals and nabbed four saves, while Moss put on the gloves against Eastern Washington University on Sept. 26.

Once again, Weber State came back from a single goal halftime deficit and defeated EWU 2–1.

Weber State Women's Soccer plays their second game in two days.  The game resulted in WSU's second loss for the weekend, with UC Riverside winning 1-0.  (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
Weber State University players jump to regain the ball against UC Riverside. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)

Furmaniak hammered in a header off a pass from Yoggerst in the 74th minute, and senior defender Harlee Turnbow deflected in a goal off the crossbar and Eagle goalie for the Wildcats’ go-ahead score.

The team sits atop the Big Sky standings at 2–0 along with the University of Montana and the University of Northern Colorado.

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