Unfortunately, that offensive explosion wasn’t enough, as WWCC held off a late rally by the Lady Trappers for a 4-3 win in overtime.
“I really think that was our best performance as a team,” said Lady Trappers head coach Jessica Lum. “And then we had individual performers that had a great game as well. It was probably our best showing of the season, the girls did a lot better job of using each other and the strengths of our team.”
After battling to a 0-0 stalemate in the first half, NWC’s Hiroko Sogabe gave the Lady Trappers their first lead of the season, scoring at the 67:00 mark with an assist by midfielder Nicola Waddell. Defensively, NWC turned back everything the Lady Mustangs threw at them, and Lum was pleased with the team’s performance.
“The first half, we performed well,” Lum said. “I think the other team had a good showing, but because of our motivation and our energy, we came out stronger. Despite their opportunities, we still defended the game well.”
Midfielder Jessie Shipley followed Sogabe’s lead with a goal of her own at the 73:00 mark, assisted by forward Brandie Beddes, putting the Lady Trappers up 2-0.
“A big part of it was the girls really wanted to win,” Lum said. “They were all pumped up for that game. ... They were pretty motivated, having lost several games on the road. They were excited to be back on their home turf.”
With thoughts of the team’s first win and possibly a shutout for keeper Katie
Behrens, Lum said the girls may have been caught up in the moment a little too much. The Lady Mustangs scored three goals, two by Maylee Thompson, in a span of eight minutes, giving them the lead with five minutes left in regulation.
“That’s really the first time this year that we’ve been up like that,” Lum explained. “It comes with a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenaline. I think one thing we learned as a team — and one thing I learned as a coach — is that when you’re up 2-0, you’re not done yet. When you get up, you have to change your strategy and focus. We didn’t do that, and it cost us.”
With little time left and trailing by a goal, “a lot of teams would have just given up,” Lum said. “But we didn’t do that.”
Sophomore Holly Burley found the back of the net with less than two minutes remaining, sending the match into overtime.
“We answered, we came back and tied it up, which was very exciting. I was really pleased with that effort,” Lum said.
The momentum was short-lived, as Western Wyoming was able to score four minutes into overtime on a direct kick to claim the win. But Lum and the Lady Trappers learned a lot about their capabilities.
The first-year coach praised Behrens for her poise in net.
“I think Katie [Behrens] had a great game, she really stopped a lot of opportunities,” Lum said. “We also defended well. Jessie Shipley had a good game, she scored a goal. She’s getting better at taking advantage of her opportunities. She took shots in this game, which really helped.”
Lum also praised her midfielders for controlling the action. She said success is predicated on chemistry and felt that finally worked in NWC’s favor against WWCC.
“With the middle, you have to know each other so well,” Lum explained. “They’re communicating, but a lot of it has to be done by feel, just anticipating another person and how they play. I really felt like this game more than others I saw that happening for us.”
The Lady Trappers have two more games during this homestand, having welcomed Sheridan to Trapper Field Wednesday and Gillette College on Saturday. Lum said the team will benefit from having played each team earlier in the season, and knowing a bit more about what to expect.
“The thing I would like is to give them a better game than last time,” Lum said of the conference rivals. “I think we are as good a team as those teams are, we just can’t let them get the best of us.”
She said the team is working on being more physical and on finishing shots.
Saturday’s game against Gillette is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Trapper Field.