Nov. 2, 2011
Bearcats optimistic heading to MIAA tournament
By David Boyce
The best part of postseason play is new life. The Northwest Missouri State soccer team, which has played with spirit all season, will get a boost at the right time.
Northwest finished the regular season with two, tough road losses, falling to Missouri Southern 2-1 in double overtime and 1-0 to Southwest Baptist.
If this were last year or 2009, the Bearcats would carry those results into the winter months.
Thankfully, for the Bearcats and the soccer teams in the MIAA, there is a conference tournament and the winner gets an automatic bid into the regional tournament.
New life breeds new optimism. The Bearcats, 9-6-2 overall and 5-3 in the MIAA, earned the No. 4 seed and will take on Emporia State, 3-9-5 and 2-5-1, at 6 p.m. Thursday at Durwood Stadium on UMKC campus.
“I’m really excited,” said senior defender Jacque Dedovesh, a graduate of Lee’s Summit West. “We never had a chance to play in postseason my freshman and sophomore seasons when we had good teams. To be able to have a chance to show what Northwest is about is a great opportunity.”
Through late summer and early fall, the Bearcats proved they were nothing like last year’s squad that won only three games.
In its first nine games, Northwest went 5-2-2. Only twice in those first nine contests did the Bearcats fail to record a goal.
“We got some pretty good recruits who can really score,” said sophomore midfielder Anna Calgaard. “Starting the season off winning catapulted our confidence into the following game. I think that’s why we did pretty well.
“I’m so happy we are doing so much better than last year. We’ve improved by leaps and bounds since last year. We are still a pretty young team.”
Other than the two-game hiccup last week, Northwest has been getting steadily better. The proof is their games against Central Missouri. On Sept. 22, Northwest played at home against the No. 15 Jennies and lost 4-0.
In the rematch, the Bearcats went to No. 10 Central Missouri on Oct. 20 and lost 2-0 in a hard-fought contest against a team that finished the regular season 17-1 overall and 8-0 in the MIAA to earn the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
“I think our confidence is still high,” Calgaard said. “It was a tough weekend. We were all pretty tired from our game against Missouri Southern. It went two overtimes. Then we did some community service the following day. We were pretty tired going into SBU.
“We can score goals when we want to.”
Despite the two losses last weekend, the Bearcats still did some good work. They spent last Friday doing clean up in Joplin, Mo., from the devastating tornado that struck last spring.
“It was a really rewarding experience, but it was hard seeing everything,” Calgaard said. “It has been so long since it happened, but there is still so much to do. Our manager of the hotel took us on a tour of the town.
“The toughest part was seeing the high school. It was sad.”
Added Dedovesh: “It was good to be down there with the team doing community service outside of Maryville. It makes you appreciate what you have every day and the people you have in your life. To have the opportunity to play soccer is just an amazing gift.”
The Bearcats want to take advantage of the gift the MIAA gave to all the soccer teams in conference. Six of the nine teams advance to the conference tournament. Next year the number expands to eight.
“UMKC is a great atmosphere, a stadium atmosphere,” Dedovesh said of the tournament location. “We will be excited.
“My family is going to be there. I will have some soccer coaches who coached me when I was in high school at the game. It will be good to have the people who gotten me to where I am today to be able to support me on Thursday.”
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468