It was a roller coaster week for the Dixie State University women’s soccer team, going 1-1 and missing out on the postseason.
DSU dropped an utter heartbreaker to Concordia University Irvine Thursday, and then upset California Baptist University Saturday.
The Thursday match was a scoreless stalemate for 89 minutes. Extra time seemed imminent. But CUI stuck a dagger in the hearts of DSU with the match’s first goal.
With only 38 seconds left, DSU’s desperate attempts to tie the match were thwarted and CUI came away with a 1-0 victory.
“We came out in the second half really hard,” said freshman forward Kamie Hunter, a nursing major from Hooper. “It’s just sad that it had to end [like that]. Coaches told us to keep our heads up and that we will need to come out strong [Saturday].”
Because of the loss Thursday, the team was eliminated from playoff contention, but that did not stop it from believing it could still finish on a high note.
Saturday was senior night; the final game of the season. For seven players, this would be the last time they would put on a DSU uniform.
After an emotional ceremony celebrating the seniors, the final match of the season began and the mission was clear.
“This was out last game, so we wanted to do this for the seniors,” said senior goalie Angelica Ciucci, an arts major from Stockholm, Sweden. “This is our home field, and we had to win.”
Defense dominated the first half with neither team able to score. Both teams had five shots, but going into halftime it was 0-0.
The Lancers were finally able to break the scoreless tie in the 68th minute, but the Trailblazers responded 10 seconds later with a goal from senior forward Erica Gonzalez.
As time began to wind down, neither team was able to take the lead and after a back-and-forth aggressive and emotional 90 minutes, both DSU and CBU were tied 1-1. Two 10-minute periods of extra time commenced.
With only seconds remaining in the first extra time period, junior forward Darian McCloy got ahold of a throw-in and netted the game winner. The subsequent jubilation and celebration was nearly palpable.
“We all just wanted it more than they did tonight,” said senior defender Aubri Detmer, a nursing major from Austin, Texas. “We wanted this so bad, and we were ready tonight.”
Had CBU won Saturday, it would have been crowned Pacific West Conference champions.
“We knew [CBU] was an amazing team, so I’m just proud of the way we played,” head coach Kacey Bingham said. “We’ve known all year we can play with these big teams, and I wouldn’t want to end the season any other way.”
In a season that saw both a seven game winning streak, and a costly cold stretch at home, it was almost poetic to finish the season off in dramatic fashion.
“Even though we didn’t win the conference, the team certainly won my heart,” Ciucci said. “All in all, we did a really good job [this season], and it was a lot of fun.”