As the Vandals enter the second half of conference play, they are looking to start strong this weekend with WAC championships as their end goal for the season.
“I want to be on the top (of the WAC) and so do the girls,” Idaho coach Pete Showler said.
The young team, which started the season with half of its roster freshmen, has grown and the players have started to learn each other’s game. Showler said the only element missing from the winning formula is a full 90 minutes of hard dedicated soccer to put the wins in the books and clinch a second straight invitation to the WAC Championship.
“We need to take care of our own game, if we do we can produce things. We have to get that right,” Showler said.
For the start of the second half of conference play, the Vandals will be playing Cal State-Bakersfield for the second time this season. The last time the two teams played, the match did not go the Vandals way. In fact, the Vandals had one of their worst performances of the season getting shutout 1-0 and only managing two shots, none of which were on goal.
“In that game, I feel like we were more worried about where our play was going offensively and we were worried about shutting ourselves down … we were not worried about where to place the ball to make runs (on goal),” senior Nitalia Zuniga said. “They did have some good defense but I feel that we were working against ourselves.”
This time around, the Vandals are looking to move the ball more effectively as a team and capitalize on the scoring opportunities that are presented.
“We have talked about everything about the game and we want to beat them. We want to move forward — to score and not worry about our defenders,” Zuniga said.
After the Vandals take on Cal-State Bakersfield on Friday, they have a day of rest before returning to Guy Wicks Field on Sunday for the second match up against Utah Valley, a team that they have had more success with this season.
When Idaho last played Utah Valley, they were able to hold them scoreless winning 1-0.
To clinch their second straight win against Utah Valley, the Vandals have to play the game their way and work on the formula that has proved successful for them in the past, freshman forward Kaysha Darcy said.
“We need to play our game. (Our) game is a passing game. Moving the ball down the field and working the cross,” Darcy said.
Heading into the weekend, Idaho is ranked fourth out of the seven WAC soccer teams.
“The ultimate goal is to win the WAC tournament,” Showler said. “We will step onto the pitch one game at a time, take care of each game as it comes and if that is the case we will be fine and dandy.”
Curtis Ginnetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org