The University of Wyoming had a great finish to the regular season with two wins this weekend. The Cowgirls got their first conference win of the season which was also their first home Mountain West Conference victory. On Sunday the Cowgirls finished their season with a stunning victory over the University of San Francisco.
In the final three minutes of Fri.'s match, UW sophomore Marci Crank scored the game winning goal, putting the Cowgirls up 1-0.
Wyoming played a tough match that remained gridlocked at 0-0 until 86:10 when Crank played the ball down field and drove it into the Falcon's net in spite of heavy Air Force pressure. This was Crank's first goal of the season, as well as her first collegiate goal.
Air Force (7-10-1, 2-4-0 MWC) made a spectacular effort throughout the game, especially dominating the Cowgirls in the second half. They outshot UW 21-11. Ten of those shots were saved by UW goalie, Lori Scheider.
"I think overall we played well and didn't give up," said Wyoming's head coach Anne Moore. "Air Force is a tough team. They never quit and they're always pressuring us. It was good to see we were able to step up and put the ball in the back of the net."
The win over Air Force is the first time the Cowgirls have ever defeated the Falcons in their six meetings. It was the first Mountain West Conference win since the Cowgirls defeated the University of New Mexico, 1-0, in Albuquerque on Oct. 17, 1999.
"It's a relief (to get the first conference win of the season). We've played well all season but haven't gotten the results. It's nice for once to get a win, especially going into the conference tournament. It gives us confidence. Now we know that not only can we play with the teams in our conference, we can beat them," said Moore.
The Cowgirls played a spectacular match against the Lady Dons from the University of San Francisco (9-8-1, 2-3-0 WCC) Sun., winning 2-4.
San Francisco struck first at 2:44 into the match. Wyoming wasn't phased, however. They played the ball well and kept switching fields, eventually scoring at 21:34. Freshman Melissa Bowman scored after a quick drive down the field by UW. Junior forward Sara Stephens assisted the goal.
In the second period, USF again came out strong. The Lady Dons' second and final goal of the game came ten minutes in. The Cowgirls came right back again. Senior Abby Mouch headed a ball into the back of USF's net after a corner kick and a couple of rebounds failed.
With the game tied at two a piece, the Cowgirls kicked it into overdrive. Stephens made an amazing play when she broke away from the field and drove in the go-ahead goal for Wyoming at 68:59. She then knocked in an insurance goal off a play by Sancy Florquist at 76:43.
San Francisco made several attempts to regain control, but could not get past Cowgirl goalie Sarah Kuyper. Kuyper made 11 key saves for UW on 24 shots by USF. Wyoming only put up 14 shots, but made them count.
Coach Moore was pleased with her team's performance this weekend. "This was a huge end for us," Moore said. "We finally got two deserved wins this weekend after being so close all year. This gives us great momentum going into the conference tournament." The match was also the final home contest for the Cowgirl seniors.
"I thought the seniors played very well," Moore said. "They came out and hustled and went out on a very positive note."
Several young players also stepped up, getting considerable time to help "save up" the starters for conference action this week. "The second team did a great job stepping in, they didn't let the game drop. It was a positive experience all around."
Up Next for the Cowgirls...
Wyoming heads to the Mountain West Conference with the highest seeding ever. The Cowgirls tied for sixth place with Air Force and take on number three UNLV on Wed., Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Las Vegas. The winner of that contest plays the winner of the Air Force/New Mexico match. Coach Moore feels the momentum from the two wins this weekend will help the Cowgirls at the tournament. "This year we don't have to face Utah or BYU until the championship, which is helpful. In past years we've faced them in the first round and they're good teams that are hard to beat. I like our chances this year."
The Cowgirls have moved up the charts in career records this season. Junior forward Sara Stephens climbed up to the number three spot on Career Points list with 24 while senior defender Jessica Piccone leaves the University with the second most Career Starts, 66. Goalkeepers Sarah Kuyper and Lori Scheider both moved into positions on the single season Goals Allowed Average list. With GAA's of 1.77 and 1.99 respectively, Scheider and Kuyper move into the number three and four spots. Also noteworthy, UW's .324 win percentage is the second best finish in history, behind 2000's .395 campaign.