Women’s soccer team heads to HAAC Championship game with win over William Jewell

Story by Kyle Davis

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One more game.

One more game and the Baker women’s soccer team will achieve a goal it has not reached in more than a decade.

The Wildcats reached the HAAC Championship match Thursday with a 2-1 double-overtime win over William Jewell College at Liston Stadium.

Baker travels Saturday to Lamoni, Iowa to face the top-seeded Graceland University, 16-1-2 overall and 9-0 in conference play, for a chance to be crowned HAAC Champions and receive an automatic berth into the national tournament.

After a scoreless first half, senior Rachel Shepard gave the Wildcats the lead with a goal, on a cross by junior Jennifer Sampson, in the first minute of the second half.

William Jewell answered with 17:25 left in regulation when Sali Stout scored her sixth goal of the season, as she cut left toward the middle of the field and knocked the ball into the bottom-left portion of the net.

William Jewell had additional chances in the second half, but the Cardinals were unsuccessful in getting past the Baker defense and goalkeeper Maggie Dupes. Dupes recorded seven saves on the night.

“Maggie, that’s why she’s here. She made a difference. I thought Alisyia King and Chelsea Dunn were fantastic. Emily Burks, fantastic,” head coach Nate Houser said. “It was a whole team. I think that’s what’s happened to us, is we’ve become a whole team, not players, and it’s awesome.”

The teams were 4:42 seconds away from heading into a shootout when Ashley Ukena outran her defender down the left side of the field, on a long pass from sophomore Alix Schiraldi, and beat the keeper for the game-winner.

“I just think in overtime, we were consistent in what we did,” Houser said. “It was just about continuing to do what we do, and not change the plan, the plan was working. It’s easy, when you get tired, to try and deviate from it, but they stuck with it and they believed.”