SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With the regular season winding down, the Wildcats are continuing to heat up.
Led by goals from senior forward Ari Aki and junior forward Felicia Sortor, the Weber State women’s soccer team earned its third consecutive shutout victory, blanking Sacramento State 2-0 on Friday afternoon at Hornet Field.
The Wildcats improved to 4-2-0 (12 points) in Big Sky Conference action and 6-9-0 overall as they put together their first three-match winning streak since winning four straight non-conference matches at the start of the 2009 season.
“This is a big win,” Aki said. “It’s one more step for us toward our goal. Everyone came out and did their job and did what we were supposed to do. We were really focused and played hard. Everything seemed to click today.”
It was the first goal of the season for both Aki and Sortor, with sophomore midfielder Abbey Kennedy notching her first assist of the year on Sortor’s goal. Sacramento State outshot Weber State 16-11 during the match, but the Wildcats were more accurate with their attempts as they placed six on frame compared to the Hornets’ five shots on goal.
Weber State punched into the lead in the 40th minute when Aki blasted home a shot from 25 yards out that banked off the post and into the goal to put the Wildcats ahead 1-0 at halftime.
“We gave ourselves some really good looks and we were able to capitalize on them today,” Weber State coach Tim Crompton said. “We’ve been playing well but today we were able to get done what we needed and we played really solid defensively.”
Once the second half started, it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to double up the advantage as Sortor one-touched a short cross from Kennedy and knocked hit in home in the 48th minute to make it 2-0.
Junior goalkeeper Ryann Waldman earned the shutout in goal, her third straight clean sheet and her fourth of Big Sky play, and fifth of the season overall.
Weber State will return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Wildcats travel to Portland, Ore., to take on league-leading Portland State. The Vikings are coming off a 2-1 home loss to Idaho State on Friday afternoon.
The Weber State women’s cross country team competed Friday in one of the largest and deepest meets in recent history and the Wildcats fared well against some of the best teams in the nation.
• WILDCATS FINISH 10TH IN BIG WOMEN’S RACE: At Madison, Wisc., 48 teams competed at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis. The meet also included 19 of the top 30 teams in the country. Weber State entered the meet ranked 13th in the nation, their highest ranking in school history.
The Wildcats finished 10th overall in the meet, totaling 439 points. Iowa State won the meet with 109 points followed by Stanford, Arizona, Washington and Cornell. BYU was 24th and Northern Arizona finished 38th.
Once again Weber State was led by junior Amber Henry who finished third overall in the prestigious meet, defeating several athletes from nationally ranked teams and several All-Americans. The Mountain View, Wyo., native posted a time of 19:43 on the 6K course to finish third overall.
In four meets this season, Henry, the 2011 Big Sky champion, has finished first, first, third and third overall.
Weber State’s second runner was senior Sarah Callister who took 19th overall with a time of 20:05. Laken Hintze was WSU’s third runner, finishing 124th at 20:57. Kayla Blackford was 137th at 21:01 and freshman Jamie Stokes was the fifth runner with a time of 21:08, finishing 156th overall. Senior Taylor Thornley, who had been WSU’s third runner in the other meets, finished 208th and Suzanna Cressall was 222nd.
“This was a good performance for us against a great field of teams,” said WSU coach Paul Pilkington. “We were able to defeat some teams we needed to and get some team points. Amber had another fantastic race and really closed the race well. She showed that she is one of the best cross country runners in the nation.”
The Wildcats will now prepare to defend their title at the Big Sky Conference championship, which will be Oct. 27 in Flagstaff, Ariz. After that the Wildcats will head to the NCAA Mountain Regional meet on Nov. 10.