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Final-minute goal gives Wildcats the win

After a tough start to their non-conference season, Weber State University’s women’s soccer team got conference play off to a good start, knocking off rival Idaho State University 1-0.

Sophomore forward Felicia Sortor scored the only goal in the 90th minute on Friday at the Big Sky Conference-opener for the WSU Wildcats. The Wildcats played against rival ISU, giving the team a 1-0 victory over ISU.

Sortor scored with 59 seconds remaining in regulation play, giving the Wildcats the win, and capping off a strong second half. Sortor finished the play with a chipped shot over the Bengals’ goalkeeper from 18 yards out, receiving an assist from junior midfielder Kierstin Raught, which was her first of the season.

After struggling to get shots on goal in their non-conference games, WSU’s offense played well, constantly challenging the ISU defense. The Wildcats recorded 14 of their season-high tying of 24 shots in the half.

WSU had eight second-half shots on goal. Their defense also played well, holding the Bengals to three shots on goal. WSU also took five corner kicks in the game.

Sophomore goalkeeper Ryann Waldman had the shutout in goal, her second of the season and the Wildcats’ third lockdown of the season, lowering their Big Sky Conference-best goals-against average to 1.0.

Waldman said that the team performed well against ISU, and that she feels the team is coming together well. She said she feels the win will boost team morale and help them prepare for the rest of their conference games.

“Overall as a team we accomplished a lot during the Idaho State game,” Waldman said. “We played great as a team, fought for the entire 90 minutes of the game, and finished it off by scoring an amazing goal to come out victorious. This game gave us the confidence we need as a group to go into all of our upcoming conference games and get the job done.”

Waldman also made six saves in the first half, but needed to make just three stops in the second half to preserve the clean sheet.

The Big Sky tournament is the first of WSU’s 2011 campaign and should prove to be the beginning of an exciting tournament.

“We are excited to begin the conference season. It’s what we prepare and train for all year,” said WSU Coach Tim Crompton. “Like a lot of other teams in our conference, we’ve played a tough and competitive schedule to try and prepare our players for the challenges they will face during conference play.”

The Wildcats have continually worked on improving their defense and look to show that during future conference games.

“As a team, we’ve put a lot of pride into playing defense, and we’ve played well enough to get results, but we didn’t make the critical plays we needed to get those,” Crompton said. “Now we have a fresh start in conference, and I’m eager to see our players move forward.”

WSU (1-0-0 Big Sky, 3-8-0 overall) improved to 9-6-1 against ISU, topping the Bengals for the second-straight year and the third time in four seasons, while improving to 6-5-0 all-time at Davis Field.

The Wildcats will return to Big Sky action on Oct. 7 in Greeley, Colo., against Northern Colorado University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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