Women’s soccer secures spot in conference tournament

Story by Lauren Bechard

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Following a 4-0 victory over Central Methodist University, the Baker University women’s soccer team secured a spot in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament.

The Wildcats finished the regular season tied for fourth with MidAmerica Nazarene University.

The shutout over CMU on Saturday improved the Wildcats’ record to 3-2-2 in conference play and 7-5-6 overall.

Junior Shelby Schiraldi said her team focused on shooting the ball more during the game against Central Methodist, and that the effort ”definitely paid off.”

“Our speed of play was working really well,” Schiraldi said. “We set the pace early and we were playing smart, simpler soccer.”

Freshman Keely Atkin scored the first goal of the game in the 12th minute, ripping a shot just 6 yards out from the goal.

The next goal was deflected in off of a free kick. Just seven minutes later, sophomore Shaylynn Eldridge-McMillan scored her third goal of the season.

Junior Ashley Mauck picked up the assist on Eldridge-McMillan’s goal and on the final goal after sending a long chip pass to freshman Gabrielle Betsch to shoot past the CMU goalkeeper.

Heading into the tournament play, Schrialdi hopes her team will keep the same intensity against Central Methodist.

“Our main focus is to keep building and progress from our last game,” Schiraldi said. “We have some momentum going and we need to keep it.”

The HAAC playoff bracket has yet to be announced, but Baker will likely take on MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe in the first round. Earlier in the season, Wildcats ended in a 0-0 draw with MNU.

“Our focus is never on the other teams, it’s always on trying to be better than we were the game before,” Schiraldi said.