Missouri Western went 2-1 in the MIAA conference playoffs beating The University of Central Oklahoma 2-1 and Washburn University 1-0, but lost to Central Missouri University 4-1.
Missouri Western is going into the NCAA tournament with the 3rd seed and could have the chance to face UCM for the fourth time this season. UCM won all three previous encounters with Western, outscoring the Griffons 8-1. This is the norm for UCM as they come into the NCAA tournament with the number one seed going 21-0-0 this season.
Enough about that potentially amazing encounter, let’s look at these last three games.
Starting off last Wednesday in Spratt Memorial Stadium, the Griffons beat UCO 2-1 in a game with 17 fouls, two yellow cards and a game winning shot with less than 6 minutes remaining. Sydney Cluck hit a game winning goal which was also her eighth goal on the season.
Coach Chad Edwards talked about the game and the preparation coming into it.
Edwards said, “We practiced our butts off. Central Oklahoma’s record doesn’t support the good soccer they’ve played and we knew that. We knew not to play to their record, but to their skill.” UCO is 7-10-2.
Edwards also brought up the last minute kick by Cluck.
“That was exhilarating wasn’t it? I’m proud of her, this whole team’s done so great,” Edwards said.
Cassidy Menke hit her 15th goal on the season leading Western at the top 1-0 until the 71st minute when UCO’s Asha Haile tied the score board until Cluck scored, leaving Western to win 2-1.
Last Friday, Western traveled to Warrensburg to face the 10-9-1 Ichabods of Washburn. This game was a very defensive game, with Western only having five of their 21 shots on goal. Out of the 21 shots, Menke shot eight of them. It looked like it would go 0-0 into the half, but senior Bridget Blessie scored with only 30 seconds left in the first half to make it 1-0, and remained the score after the game.
Ashlyn Powers was proud of her team in this game and the perseverance they had.
Powers said, “The team couldn’t really get much offense, but we stayed on it and when a crack showed we used it to score, and it came out to be a very important score.”
Finally Western stayed in Warrensburg and faced the then 20-0-0, Jennies of Central Missouri. The big statistic in this game is the amount of shots. Missouri Western had three shots the whole game, compared to UCM’s 35. On those three shots there were two goals, although one was called back. Cluck hit her ninth goal on the season after the Griffs let up three goals, but the Jennies scored one last time and secured their 21st win.
Bailey Ketcham was proud of her teammates and she also saw the positives in this game.
Ketcham said, “Although one got called back, we essentially scored twice on them, while in the regular season they only allowed two in all those games, so I am proud of us to get here and to show offense against a defensive team like them.”
Missouri Western earned the No. 3 seed in the central region, and they will travel to Mankato, Minnesota to play No. 6-seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10.