By CAYDEN SANDERS
Tiger Media Network
The Fort Hays State University women’s soccer team entered the NCAA women’s soccer tournament looking for their first NCAA tournament win since 2016; however, the Tigers could not get it done over in-state rival Emporia State, as Fort Hays lost 2-1.
Head Coach of the Tigers Tyson John said that he thought his team was the better side.
“We were the better team, we outshot Emporia State 20-10 and made 11 shots on target, and had more corner kicks. But sometimes the chips don’t fall your way,” John said.
While the Tigers (13-5-3) did have 10 more shots than the Hornets, ESU goalkeeper Mackenzie Goen had 10 total saves with seven of them coming in the second half.
In the 12th minute of the match, forward Mackenzie Dimarco found a pass from teammate Hannah Woolery to score.
From there the Hornets and Dimarco were kept away from the back of the net until the 84th minute of the match. Dimarco took advantage of a one-on-one with Tiger keeper Isabel Robben to make the score 2-0.
Fort Hays State did score in the waning minutes of the match with Alex Hutton scoring her ninth goal of the season.
But in the end, the Tigers could not make the season-saving comeback on the road to the Hornets. After the game John, had a post-game message for his team.
“This game is why winning is great and losing is so tough. You can be the better team and it just doesn’t fall your way,” John said.
For two Tiger seniors, this game meant a lot to them. As reality kicked in that soccer was over, Robben and centerback Reilly Madden shared a moment to soak in the moment and hug one another.
“It is one of those moments that it’s the last forever. It’s the last you’re going to be on the field together,” Madden said. “It’s not the way we wanted to go out.”
John also acknowledged the family this team and program has built in his two seasons with Fort Hays State.
“This is a great group, and they are all hard-working and we got to see that today and from us all season,” John said. “We left it all on the field and that’s all we got.
To go along with the season’s 13 wins – the most since 2016 – FHSU finished third in the regular season and placed 10 members of the team on the All-MIAA awards list this fall.
Photos by KERON WATSON, TMN