Women’s soccer ends season at home

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The third-seeded Baker University women’s soccer team fell in the first round of the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament to the sixth-seeded Culver-Stockton Wildcats on Friday. Both teams remained scoreless through 110 minutes of play, but Culver-Stockton prevailed in penalty kicks 4-1.

The Baker Wildcats came into the game 11-5-1, just missing the first-round bye earned by second-seeded Missouri Valley College.

Baker dominated the majority of the game Friday night and retained most of the possession for the entire 90 minutes and two 10-minute extra time periods. Baker fired 19 total shots, led by first-team all-conference performer sophomore Krista Hooper with eight.

Coming down the final stretch of the first 90 minutes, Baker took four shots in the final eight minutes. Three of the four were on target and saved by Culver’s goalkeeper Mackenzie Little.

In the 88th minute, three time All-American and 2014 first team all-conference defender senior Shelby Schiraldi’s shot was saved by Little. Third team all-conference forward sophomore Keeley Atkin pulled a shot wide in the 89th minute, then Hooper tried to find the go-ahead goal in the final minutes and was denied again by Little, who made six saves on the night.

After 110 minutes the Baker Wildcats were going to penalties for the first round of the HAAC Tournament. Last season at MidAmerica Nazarene University, Baker lost in penalties 3-2 to end its season. That game also ended 0-0 after 110 minutes.

Culver-Stockton went first in the penalty shots, and sophomore Callie Fackler beat Baker’s second-team all-conference senior goalkeeper Rachel Theobald. Hooper followed for Baker and missed her penalty. Culver took a 2-0 lead after forward Alyx Seats buried her shot and sophomore Jessica Hillebert went second for Baker and capitalized on her opportunity, sinking the 12-yard shot. Baker trailed 2-1 and needed a big save or miss from Culver.

Sophomore Crista Thompson for Culver found the back of the net to go up 3-1, followed by a missed shot from BU sophomore defender Taylor Baum. Culver-Stockton only needed one of its next two or another Baker miss to seal the upset.

Culver-Stockton’s third team all-conference freshman midfielder Erin Kelly beat Theobald for the 4-1 win, eliminating the Baker women’s soccer team from the HAAC Tournament and ending its season.

Although the team lost in penalties, Theobald finished with her seventh shutout of the season in regulation and 18th in her Baker career.

The BU Wildcats finished their 2014 campaign with a record of 11-5-2 and 4-2-1 in the conference. This was an improvement from the 2013 finish of 7-5-7 and 3-2-2 in the conference.