Omaha hopes toughest road is behind them

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Photo by unomaha.edu

Ray Koch
Sports Editor

A road trip to Manhattan, Kansas was never going to be easy for a team in search of their first win of the season. Omaha Women’s Soccer faced off against Kansas State before a sold-out crowd at the K-State Soccer Complex on Wednesday night. After 90 minutes of play, Omaha found that they were still searching.

The Mavericks started down a goal early in the game, when local Nebraskan Christina Baxter found the back of the net off an unmarked header in the box in the eighth minute. This was the freshman’s first goal for the Wildcats.

Haley Johnson would stay busy in net for the Mavericks throughout the first half, being called on to make an impressive seven saves in that half alone. Her hard work was rewarded, as the teams entered halftime with the one goal being the only difference in the game. A potential win was still well on the table for Omaha.

The second half was much more positive, as Omaha was able to find their footing in the game. The Wildcats were held to a much more manageable eight shots, as opposed to 15 in the first half.

Andrea Daves had one of the better chances of the night to level things up, when her shot from distance went just wide of the Kansas State goal. Omaha went home empty handed in the goal column, however. They were unfortunate to not be able to find the back of the net. A late corner kick for the Wildcats allowed them to tack on another goal. The game would finish 2-0.

The Omaha Women’s Soccer team saw their record fall to 0-4-0. Haley Johnson was a stalwart in goal, with a game high 11 saves on the night. On the offensive side, Emily Romero did her part to create an attacking threat. She led the Mavericks with three shots and two on goal.

With the team in its first season under head coach Tim Walters and still trying to find their new identity, the narrative this season should be on improvement from each game to the next. Omaha made a good stride forward in this game, and coach Walters found lots of positives to take away. After the game, he had this to say about his team’s performance:

“I was proud of the team tonight. We worked our tails off in the second half. I was impressed with our effort and thought we were going to get a goal.”

With a healthy balance of youth and experience on the squad, Omaha has the pieces to produce plenty of results this season. It will not be an easy matter to get all those pieces to fit together, but if the improvements seen gradually over the first four games are indicative of anything, this team is well on its way. With the team exiting what proved to be a very challenging four game start to the season, wins should start showing up anytime now.

Looking ahead for the Mavericks, they play at North Dakota on Friday, Sept. 1 and home against Missouri State on Friday Sept. 8.

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