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Western soccer moves up to fifth in MIAA

Sydney Andrews heads the ball defenders close in on her Friday against Nebraska-Kearney at Spratt Stadium. Zack Papenberg | Photo Editor
Sydney Andrews heads the ball defenders close in on her Friday against Nebraska-Kearney at Spratt Stadium. Zack Papenberg | Photo Editor

The Griffons were on top of their game this weekend, as they won both games for the first time since the first week of the season.

Friday’s matchup with Nebraska-Kearney was the tale of two halves.

The first half was a series of missed opportunities by Nebraska-Kearney. The Lopers put up six shots, but only had one on goal, which Western goalkeeper Sarah Lyle handled.

At halftime, neither team had found the net and were scoreless.

The second half was an offensive assault by the Griffons, with the help of Sydney Andrews and Katie Kempf finding the net for the first time this season.

By the end of the game, four goals were scored between the two teams, three of which were netted by the Griffons.

Andrews scored two goals in the Griffons victory less than 20 minutes apart from each other. Kempf found the net late into the second half with an assist from Sydney Cluck.

Nebraska-Kearney wouldn’t find their way to a goal until it was far too late to pull off a comeback.

Western emerged victorious by a score of 3-1. The Griffons play was what head coach Chad Edwards called, “beautiful soccer.”

On Sunday, Western went up against Fort Hays State for the first time this season.

Though the game was not near the mismatch that Friday was, Western still found their way to their third consecutive victory.

Bridget Blessie would find the net for the fourth time this season in the 61st minute. This would be the only score, as Lyle had another standout performance with nine saves.

This is the first time the Griffons have won three straight games this season. Edwards calls it a “huge comeback” from the rough loss to Washburn last weekend.

After the undefeated weekend, Western moved to No. 5 in the MIAA. To host an MIAA tournament game, the Griffons must find their way into the top four in the conference.

Another important qualification the Griffons are working towards is to secure a place in the National Tournament. To do this, the Griffons must remain in the top six in the region.

With a critical weekend ahead, the Griffons hope to pick up momentum at just the right time. Western travels to Central Missouri this Friday. The Mules are No. 1 in the MIAA at an overall 12-2.

The team feels as if this is the best position they can be in heading into the match up with UCM.

“Going out on a high this weekend, and with them just losing to Northeastern, gives us the best shot to do well against them,” Drew Mantlo said.

Western plays Central Missouri twice over the final weeks of the season.

On Sunday, Oct. 25, Western will go for a season sweep over Lindenwood on the road.

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