Wildcat soccer falls to North Idaho
There will be no return trip to the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament this season for the Western Nevada College women’s soccer team.
The Wildcats were beaten by Northern Idaho College 2-1 in overtime on Saturday in Idaho in the regional finals. Northern Idaho advanced to the national playoffs while Western Nevada ended its season at 9-6-2. Last year, the Wildcats beat Northern Idaho to advance to the national playoffs.
Northern Idaho scored a controversial goal in the first half to take a 1-0 halftime lead. “You could see their player was clearly offsides,” Wildcat coach Hillary Arthur said.
The Wildcats answered in the second half when Jordan Forman beat the defense and crossed a pass to Alexia Balmaseda, who scored on a header. “It was beautiful,” Arthur said.
But Northern Idaho scored five minutes into the first 10-minute sudden death overtime. Northern Idaho outshot Western Nevada 8-6, but the Wildcats had their chances. Arthur said her team couldn’t fully take advantage of its chances, which has plagued the team all year.
“We created some great offensive opportunities,” Arthur said. “We had the ball in the box numerous times.”
But Arthur was still pleased with her team’s play. “It was the best game we’ve played all season,” Arthur said. “The whole team stepped up.” Among the players who Arthur praised was Kalah Minter at midfield.
Arthur also said it was a successful season for her team. Among the highlights was a 1-0 loss to Grossmont, one of California’s top teams, and beating the nation’s No. 12-ranked team in Cisco (Texas) College.
And the future looks bright as 12 players are expected to return next year. “We came a long way from the beginning of the season,” Arthur said.
“The team worked real hard. Definitely this was a year to build on. I’m proud. This was a good season for us.”