The Missouri Western soccer team is on pace to have the best season in program history. After a 1-0 win on Sunday against Northeastern State University, the Griffons find themselves in fifth place in the MIAA, one win from the program record for wins in a season and just two games back of UCM. Sunday’s win was the first in program history against a nationally ranked team.
“We’ve been on the brink of winning that big game,” coach Chad Edwards said. “And we hadn’t quite got it yet, but we did it today.”
The Griffons have had 12 of their 14 matches decided by one goal, including a loss on Friday to Central Oklahoma.
“We competed really hard and played hard and physically we were there, just couldn’t execute,” Edwards said.
The Western defense did their part Friday night, keeping the second ranked scoring team in the conference to just one goal.
“I really like the presence we had about ourselves and our work rate,” Edwards said.
The Bronchos scored their goal in the 37th minute of the match. UCO took 14 shots in the game.Western only took six–seven below their season average.
It was goalkeeper Paige LaBadie’s fourth-straight allowing at least one goal. The sophomore is ninth in the MIAA, allowing 1.25 goals per match.
The Griffons managed just six shots in the loss. the team is averaging 12 shots attempted per match.
It was their fourth loss in six games at home this season.
Missouri Western got back on track Sunday at Spratt Stadium. Northeastern State came into the contest as the number one scoring offense in the conference, averaging 2.2 goals per match.
The first half of the match was an offensive struggle for both sides. Labadie bounced back to save three of the six shots taken by the RiverHawks.
“We were playing some of our better soccer that we’ve played [in the first half],” Edwards said.
Edwards spoke about his team playing their game and just being there at the end with an opportunity to win at the end. That is exactly what they did as they broke through in the 69th minute of the match on a goal from Emily Kemp; it was her first of the season.
“We just needed somebody to give us a little spark, and low and behold she scores the game-wining goal,” Edwards said. “I’m sure the smile still isn’t off of her face.”
Labadie had two big saves in the last four minutes to seal the victory.
“We’ve been on the brink of winning that big game and finally we got over the hump and did that,” Edwards said.
The team has little time to celebrate the victory with Washburn coming to Spratt Stadium on Friday night. The two teams are tied for fifth place in the MIAA.
“We’re in fifth place in the league, and we have the opportunity to finish in the top four,” Edwards said.
The match will feature two evenly matched teams, each with 17 goals this season. Washburn has allowed just 13 goals, four less than the Griffons.
“They’re level with us right now, but they’ve beat some really good teams,” Edwards said. “They’re a scary team.”
On Sunday at noon Western will host Emporia State. The Hornets are coming off of back-to-back losses and sit at 5-7-2 on the season. Despite their record, ESU is fourth in the conference in opponent scoring.
The Griffons will wrap up their regular season with matches against rival Northwest Missouri State and will end the season with a big match-up with Central Missouri.