Lady Badger soccer team heading to nationals
By Matt Harris
EPHRAIM—Snow College women’s soccer blazed a brand-new trail last weekend by punching their first-ever ticket to the NJCAA Championship Tournament.
In front of a home crowd, the Lady Badgers secured the NJCAA West District Championship with a 3-0 victory over Paradise Valley Community College last Saturday, capping off an unlikely postseason following their upset of Salt Lake Community College the weekend before for the Scenic West Athletic Conference title.
Snow captures this berth in the national tournament after only four years of existence as a program, all four years under to tutelage of Coach Nuno Gourgel.
The Badgers earned their 13th shutout of the season, third best in the nation, which was credited to sophomore goalie Hailey Hillock. The stellar defense of the Lady Badgers, coupled with a ferocious and unrelenting offense, led to only one shot on goal of three attempts by the visiting Lady Pumas, which was saved by Hillock.
On offense, Snow kept the heat on all game long with 23 total shots and 16 shots on goal. The Lady Badgers found the back of the net within five minutes of game time when freshman defender took an assist from sophomore midfielder Kylee Stevens and buried it at a 4:37 mark.
At the 22:08 mark, freshman Kate Schirmer showed she needed no help at all with an unassisted goal to put Snow up, 2-0.
Snow drove the final nail in their opponents’ coffin with their third goal at the 69:49 mark. Schirmer played the part of facilitator with an assist to sophomore defender Chloe Martin for the final score.
Hillock maintained her status as the top goalkeeper in the NJCAA in terms of goals allowed. She is third in both save percentage and goals-against average.
The Lady Badger defense remains the No. 2 defense in the country in goals-against average with only five goals allowed all season.
The matchups for the NJCAA tournament are not yet determined. Snow will travel to Melbourne, Fla., to participate in the tourney from Nov. 18-23 at Orlando Health Stadium.