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Vandals fall just short in WAC Tournament

6 Nov

Sean Kramer/Argonaut

When the Idaho soccer team headed to Fresno, Calif. for the WAC tournament it did so with the confidence to bring back its first conference championship in program history, despite being seeded fifth.

That was until the Vandals ran into No. 1 seeded Utah State, falling 1-0 to the Aggies who are favored to win the entire tournament.
Idaho played Utah State tight playing to a scoreless draw deep into the second half until the Aggies took advantage of a counter attack opportunity to score the winning goal.

“We just got caught off guard and they countered our throw in really quick. They caught us on our heels,” Junior defender Lauren Layton said. “It’s disappointing we had that let down on defense.”

The match was somewhat similar to one played weeks prior in Moscow between the two teams, also played scoreless until the half until Utah State broke out with second half goals. The difference was Friday afternoon Idaho kept up their pace of play deep into the second half believing it could pull off the upset.

“Knowing that it was 0-0 people were extremely positive. People were determined. We knew we had to get the ball moving in the second half. We had a positive mentality going into the second half for sure,” Layton said.

Instead, Idaho coach Pete Showler says his team fell inches short despite playing as well as Utah State.

“This difference is we controlled the play most of the game. Our girls completely out played them. That’s what makes it more disappointing and harder to take,” Showler said. “I told them it’s tough to lose at this stage of the tournament. But hold their heads up high because I’m very proud of them.”

The Vandals earned their way into the semi-finals by defeating San Jose State a day earlier, the first conference tournament victory in program history. Last season, the Vandals were one and done in the tournament losing to Fresno State in their first match.

“Last year’s tournament we were just excited to be there. We were still pretty young,” Layton said. “This year we came in with the mentality that we wanted to win it and that we wanted to compete.”

Idaho’s road to the conference championship was derailed by a Utah State team that finished with the best record in the WAC, and a team that Idaho had lost to 3-0 earlier in the season.

“At the end of the day their record is a very good record and it’s a good record for a reason,” Showler said. “I’ll give credit where credit is due. They stick to what they’re good at and they do it will.”

Still, Showler says the Vandals were completely capable of victory on this day.

“There’s a lot of parity in women’s soccer. I think that’s become more and more evident in every conference. Ours is no different. On any day any team can win those games,” he said.

The Vandals look to go into next season with momentum from their tournament run. Every player who logged minutes in the conference tournament returns next season.

“It wasn’t meant to be this year,” Showler said. “We’re going to be more competitive, more depth and more strength next season.”

WAC Soccer Tournament Preview

2 Nov

Sean Kramer

Argonaut

After a long season of highs and lows for the Idaho soccer program, it’s all come down to one thing – A  shot at the WAC conference championship.

The team is on its way to Fresno, Calif. to participate in the Conference tournament for a second consecutive season, a goal that they set for themselves at the very start of the year. While simply qualifying for the tournament for just the second time in program history could be considered a success for Idaho, this year the only aim is to come home after winning the whole thing.

“We’ve got a chip on our shoulder,” coach Pete Showler said. “It’s a chance for us to go and prove where we’re at. The girls are very well mentally prepared, very well organized. They’re up for this.”

The Vandals are seeded into the quarterfinals of the tournament. In order to be crowned WAC champions, the Vandals need to win three consecutive matches throughout the weekend. The champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Standing in their way to the finals are San Jose State and Utah State, two teams the Vandals weren’t able to beat in the regular season.

“We didn’t come out with the right mindset for those games,” starting goalkeeper Caroline Towles said. “We were a little bit off all around the field. The time around it’s gonna be a different focus. We’re focused on winning, we’re not distracted, we know what to expect this time.”

The attitude around the team is that the conference tournament is a new season, and things that have happened earlier in the year do not matter.

“Conference tournament is completely different. It’s starting fresh, every game is a must win. The attitude and approach will be that much more focused, “ Showler said. “The girls know what they’ve got to do. Things that have gone before us is the past. It’s win or go home.”

“It’s a clean slate,” Towles said. “Conference is now irrelevant at this point. Our goal was to get here, and we did that. Now it’s to win it.”

Last season the Vandals entered the tournament with momentum as the number the seed, facing a Fresno State team that qualified as the last seed. Idaho conceded early goals and never recovered, as the Bulldogs went on not only to win that game, but the entire tournament.

This year the team believes it’s more prepared for the challenges that await them.

“Last year we were really excited but really nervous and didn’t know what to think coming out for it. We didn’t really understand how important each game was” Chelsea Small said, the team’s leading goal scorer. “We want to win, because it wasn’t a fun trip home last year. This year we’re going to go into that first game knowing either we win or we go home. We really realize how important it is to take it one game at a time.”

“Last year we learned that anything could happen,” Towles added. “Going in there and knowing that we can go in and compete with every single team we play and that anything is possible.”

The message of confidence and to play within themselves is a constant one from Showler to his girls as they approach what could be a potentially program defining weekend.

“On our day we can compete with anybody and we just have to go and show that,” he said. “There’s only one thing that’s in mind and that’s to win.”

 

Good morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 19, 2011

19 Oct

It’s bye week here in Moscow, and despite the sorrows we’re still feeling from Saturday’s heartbreaking loss; soccer, volleyball and tennis have given us reason to keep faith in the Mighty Vandals.

FOOTBALL

VOLLEYBALL

SOCCER

TENNIS

OTHER

Video story: Vandal Soccer heads to WAC championship

2 Nov

Whew, talk about updates galore. We’ve been slacking slightly on the video stories, but these babies are back in full swing. Front and center — a recap of Idaho’s weekend and looking ahead to the WAC tournament. Excitement abound.

Photo Gallery: Idaho soccer vs. Portland State

1 Oct

Kate Kucharzyk provides a visual look at the University of Idaho soccer squad’s 3-2 win over Portland State on Tuesday. The Vandals are off to their best start in school history with a 9-3 record.

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Good Morning Vandal Nation: Nov. 5, 2009

5 Nov

We’re ramping up hoops coverage here at Vandal Nation — but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about football.

Idaho’s Chelsea Small became the first Vandal ever named to the soccer All-WAC First Team. She led the WAC in shots with 101, scoring eight goals and adding four assists to lead the Vandals.

Now for your morning links.

Football

Basketball

Good Afternoon Vandal Nation: Nov. 3, 2009

3 Nov

We’re a little bit late today with the links – our apologies, but academics had to get taken care of first!

Let’s get straight to them, and everything else can wait.

Football

    Basketball

    Volleyball

    Soccer

    Idaho Vandals soccer eliminated from WAC championships

    30 Oct

    Sunday’s game against Hawaii will be the last game of the season for the Idaho Vandals soccer squad, who have been eliminated from the Western Athletic Conference championship today.

    Idaho sat in seventh place after back-to-back losses last weekend, and needed help in a big way to qualify for the WAC championship. Idaho needed Boise State to lose both games this weekend, and Idaho also needed a win against Hawaii in their “senior day” game on Sunday.

    All of that is now inconsequential, as Boise State’s 2-1 comeback victory tonight eliminated the Vandals from the WAC championships. Instead of playing for a chance at the WAC championship, the Vandals will have to settle for a chance to finish the season with a winning record. The Vandals are currently 9-8-3.

    Hawaii, which was playing at Boise, got on the board first, and after the first half, seemed destined to win with a strong controlling play. Back-to-back goals for the Broncos, one on a penalty kick in the 67th minute and a go-ahead goal in the 76th, spoiled Hawaii’s chances.

    Idaho’s game on Sunday will be the last game for seniors Ashley Perez, Anna Sandman, Sari Morrison and Lydia Beyerlein. A short ceremony will occur fifteen minutes before kick-off, which is scheduled for 1 p.m.

    Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 30, 2009

    30 Oct

    It’s Vandal Spirit Friday on Homecoming weekend — so get out there with your Idaho gear.

    Vandal volleyball moved into a tie for second in the WAC yesterday with a gritty four-set victory over New Mexico State.

    We’ll have courtside coverage from tonight’s Silver and Gold Scrimmage, starting at 5:45 p.m. — click here to join.

    This afternoon, we’ll also finish up our WAC hoops preview countdown and give you the lowdown on all five WAC battles on the card for tomorrow. We couldn’t get anyone from Louisiana Tech to do a Better Know a Foe feature, so that’ll take a week off.

    A reminder: students must pick up their hard tickets from the Kibbie Dome for tomorrow’s game against Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. — our liveblog will begin at 1:15 with pregame coverage.

    Football

    Basketball.

    • Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal continues his detailed WAC preview series with No. 8 San Jose State.

    Soccer

    Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 27, 2009

    27 Oct

    Morning breaks with the news that the Idaho/Boise State game is under consideration for ESPN’s College GameDay. The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho needs to win at least one — and preferably both — of its games between now and Nov. 14. The good news? Both are at home. The bad news? Fresno State comes to town in two weeks with one of the nation’s most dangerous rushers.

    With that, here’s today’s links:

    Football

    Basketball

      Volleyball

      Soccer

      Tennis

      Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 26, 2009

      26 Oct

      A drizzly, dark morning in Moscow to kick off Homecoming week. Fitting, given the usual weather patterns here — and the Vandals’ ugly performance in Reno this weekend. They’ll be looking to bounce back against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

      A few programming notes: Beginning on Wednesday, we’ll be joining with Nevada Sagebrush sports editor Juan Lopez for a weekly live chat about Western Athletic Conference sports. The chat will run every Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m. Pacific — we’ll break down the week that was, preview the week ahead and answer your questions.

      Also, hoops season kicks off this week — we’ll preview Friday’s Silver and Gold Scrimmage and have live coverage from the sidelines.

      Now to the links… which are fairly thin, as per usual for a Monday morning.

      Football

      Basketball

      Soccer

      Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 19, 2009

      19 Oct

      Vandal Nation is waking up to a reality it hasn’t experienced since 1999: Idaho is bowl-eligible after defeating Hawaii on Saturday.

      The stats are pretty stunning: a 6-1 overall record and a conference-leading 3-0 record in the WAC. Running back DeMaundray Woolridge is ranked seventh in the nation in scoring and quarterback Nathan Enderle is 18th nationally in passing efficiency. (Thanks to SID extraordinaire Spencer Farrin for those stats.)

      Vandal defensive end Aaron Lavarias earned WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors after a four-tackle, two-sack day that included a forced fumble on the second sack, leading to Idaho’s game-clinching touchdown. Lavarias is the sixth Idaho player so honored this season, equaling the Vandals’ Player of the Week total for the last three years.

      Also, this isn’t WAC news, but it’s worthy of your attention nonetheless: Montana Grizzlies football coach Bobby Hauck is freezing out student journalists. He’s belittled them, sworn at them and refused to speak to them — all because they had the gall to report the truth about his team.

      There’s a lot of talk about Idaho — look what happens when you win a few games — so let’s get to your morning links:

      Football

      Men’s basketball

      Soccer

      Volleyball

      Cup champions: Vandals defeat Boise State, capture Governors’ Cup

      18 Oct

      It was a must-win game against rival Boise State on Sunday, and the Vandals, who had dropped three games coming into the contest, responded with one of their best games of the year.

      “Well the pressure was on: football won and volleyball won this weekend,” Idaho coach Pete Showler joked. “We had to get a clean sweep.”

      They did, as Idaho rolled to a 3-1 victory over the Broncos, the team’s first win over Boise State since 2003.

      Showler said that team was confident and motivated from the start, and it showed through in their game. With the defense keeping BSU to only five shots on goal, freshman Chelsea Small made sure the Vandals erased their seven-year losing streak and captured the Governors’ Cup.

      Small, who had nailed the crossbar in three previous games, was finally rewarded with two goals against BSU and led the Vandals’ scoring attack all game.

      “She (Small) works so hard and tirelessly,” Showler said. “She is often not getting the end result, but by her hard work others are benefiting.”

      Small’s first goal came in the 58th minute; with the Vandals on a throw in, Small redirected the throw with her head for her 6th goal of the season and gave the Vandals a 2-1 lead.

      Continue reading

      Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 13, 2009

      13 Oct

      Brrrrr… the weather outside says it’s getting to be basketball season on the Palouse. Hoops practice begins Friday.

      Posting will be a bit sporadic today — we’ve got a couple big interviews to work on.

      But as always, here’s your morning dose of Western Athletic Conference news and notes.

      Football

      • I’ve got a feature story on Max Komar, a kid who started as a walk-on, endured the years of futility and is now the leading receiver on a winning football team. Click here for the Web-only unedited Q&A.
      • Vandal defensive back linebacker Tre’Shawn Robinson was officially reprimanded by the WAC after being ejected from the SJSU game for throwing a punch. ESPN.com’s Graham Watson has the story.

      Men’s basketball

      Continue reading

      Good Morning Vandal Nation: Oct. 12, 2009

      12 Oct

      It’s Monday morning, and as usual there’s a bunch of links looking at the weekend that was in college football.

      It’ll be a mainly-hoops day on Vandal Nation: we’ll have a breakdown of our Preseason All-WAC ballot and the first of nine team previews, in reverse order of predicted finish.

      But first, the links — with a heavy dose of Hawaii stories as we look ahead to Saturday.

      Football

      • The Spartan Daily also has a funny/sad story on Spartan coach Dick Tomey holding a lunch discussion for students… only six of whom bothered to show up. There’s some school spirit.

      Men’s basketball

      Women’s soccer

      • Idaho’s footy squad has dropped two home games in a row after losing in double overtime to defending champion Utah State. Idaho Athletics has the story.
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