After a stunning upset against rival school Stephen F. Austin State University, the Bearkats soccer team earned the third and final seed in the southwest division of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
The Bearkats finished their inaugural season in the WAC similar to their last season in the Southland Conference with a slow start that heated up towards the end. The team finished with a 6-4 conference record thanks to a 5-2 stretch over the last seven games of the season.
Going into the tournament, the Bearkats will have a few key factors as to how they will compete in their first WAC postseason.
DEFENSE IS KEY
During the regular season, the Bearkats managed four clean sheets in 10 games as well as never allowing more than two goals scored against conference opponents. The defense is led by sophomore center back Katarina Baehren who once again shined in her second season as a Bearkat.
Along with this, the goalkeeper duo of junior Tatum Krueger and senior Abby DeLozier have helped out the defense tremendously. The two goalkeepers have held it down all season splitting the games with Krueger having six starts to DeLozier’s four.
OFFENSE NEEDS A FIRE
While the defense has been the team’s staple, the offensive must find some fire when it comes to the postseason. The Bearkats only scored more than two goals once this season in a game against Chicago State University, in which five different players scored in a 5-0 victory.
Sophomore forward Landri Townsend and senior midfielder Caitlyn McDonald lead the charge scoring with five goals a piece throughout the entire season. Junior forward Brooke Jones, the lone all-WAC member, scored two goals to go along with three assists this season after leading the team in goals a season ago.
This trio will be critical in being the driving force in getting the Bearkats offense going.
NEW OPPONENT, NEW FUN
With the Bearkats entering a new conference, there are many unfamiliar foes that the team will be playing in the coming years. One of those opponents is the team they will be facing off in the first round of the conference tournament, Utah Valley University.
The Bearkats have only ever played against Utah Valley once in program history 12 years ago in 2009. The Bearkats defeated the Wolverines in a 3-2 victory.
The Bearkats will face off against the Wolverines for the second time in program history Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.