Some players like to save their biggest games for the biggest stages.
And while there might be bigger stages to come for Omaha women soccer’s Bailey Cascio, her performance in last year’s Summit League tournament was one for the ages.
Playing in their first ever postseason game, the Mavericks and Cascio had a tough match up as they took on the No. 1 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Unfazed by the moment, Cascio would lead the team to an upset 3-1 win, as she scored all three Maverick goals in the game. The win seemed to be a statement of intent from both Cascio and the team.
“It proved everything that [Omaha] women’s soccer has been trying to prove for a long time,” Cascio said.
While the Mavericks fell in the finals to the Denver Pioneers, the post-season run helped make the case that Omaha soccer would continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the Summit League. Coming into this season, it seemed that Cascio’s goal scoring performances would be central to that continued success.
However, in the early preseason – a time of the year important for building fitness and chemistry – Cascio went down injured in an exhibition against Kansas University.
Initially the injury, one to her collarbone, seemed to indicate that Cascio could be out of action for six to eight weeks and that she would miss all of non-conference play. As she was one of the Maverick’s main offensive threats and the team’s leading returning goal scorer, this presented problems.
Cascio’s injury meant that Omaha would need to find other ways and other players to score in her absence. However, it was no easy task to fill her role. Without Cascio on the field, the Maverick’s offensive struggles were evident in non-conference play.
Off the field however, things progressed in a more positive direction for both her and the Mavericks.
“My injury ended up being just a fracture, so I was able to come back at the five-week mark,” Cascio said. “It went a lot better, and I’m actually a lot more fit than I thought.”
Her return to fitness was no easy task considering she was largely immobile for nearly six weeks.
While she hasn’t scored yet this season, Cascio has since returned from injury. Since returning to the starting eleven, it seems that she hasn’t missed a beat. In her second game back, the junior forward helped lead a Maverick offense that broke a five-game scoreless streak in a 1-0 win over the Drake Bulldogs.
Now Cascio is returning to peak-fitness at just the right time, as Summit League conference play begins for Omaha soccer.
Here in Summit League play, Cascio and Omaha will look to prove their strength as they attempt to make it back to the post-season.
“Because we made it to the conference tournament last year, it’s kind of our standard now,” Cascio said. “We’re definitely capable of making it to where we were last year, if not further than we went last year.”