Lady Blues look to reach MIAA tournament

Luke Warnken

Everybody knew Friday’s game would be tough. The Truman State Bulldogs (10-2, 6-1 MIAA) visited Yager Stadium looking to ease their way to another conference win, but the Lady Blues looked to play spoiler.

The long bus ride may have hindered the Bulldogs in the first half, but two second half goals doomed Washburn.

“I don’t think the two goals indicate how close the goal was,” said Tim Collins Washburn head coach. “It was a game of twos. They had two more shots than us and they had two more corner kicks than us.”

Washburn was out shot 11-9 and 8-6 in shots on goal. TSU’s Megan Frkovic scored at the 48th minute and Kelsey Ridgway added on an insurance goal in the 74th minute. Junior Caysie Beetley was able to get three shots off on goal and freshman Bailey Wobig had two, but the Lady Blues were unable to find the back of the net.

“We had a couple of chances that maybe weren’t as well taken as theirs,” said Collins. “We showed that we can hang with them. We showed that we can capitalize on mistakes on Sunday.”

On Sunday Washburn regained some momentum and got out to a 3-1 lead against new MIAA for Lindenwood University (4-7-1, 0-7-0 MIAA) in the second half after a scoreless first half. Lindenwood struck first in the 54th minute but a penalty kick by junior Lara Doescher notched the game at one apiece.

“They [Lindenwood] were very physical and the referee allowed us to play. We had a couple of kids who got banged up but I think our character showed in the fact that we kept our composure and didn’t allow them to get in our heads,” said Collins. “We’ve had games where teams or players have gotten into our heads. We’re more mature and that showed on Sunday.”

Doescher took the penalty kick after senior Tia Stovall was sidelined for a bit after a foul by the Lion’s goalkeeper Jade Davis.

“Lara she’s a penalty kick expert and can place it anyway,” said Collins. “That was a no brainer. There was one of the more confident PK’s in my coaching history.”

Doescher scored her first goal of the season on the penalty kick, which tied up the game for the Lady Blues.

“I’ve practiced it a million times,” said Doescher. “When you practice that many times it becomes second nature.”

Redshirt freshman Whitney also scored her first goal in her WU career giving Washburn a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.

“I’m really happy for the two of them,” said Collins. “I got chills when Whitney scored because if you look at where’s she come and how far she’s gone.”

Stovall returned later in the game to tack on a goal in the 80th minute off a Beetley assist. The Lions added a goal in the last minute of the game but fell to the Blues 3-2. Sophomore Jenna Lack had five saves in the game while giving up one goal. She was replaced in the second half after suffering an injury and was replaced by fellow sophomore Tori Fuglister who recorded two saves and also gave up the late goal to the Lions.

“We’ve grown to a point where we believe in each other and believe in ourselves,” said Collins. “We’re hoping and working on getting to get into the conference tournament.”

Washburn improved to 4-10 on the season and are now one game below .500 in conference play. The Lady Blues will look to get that fifth MIAA win Friday against Missouri Southern State University (3-8-2, 3-4-1 MIAA).

“This game is going to come down to not so much X’s and O’s but who wants it more,” said Collins. “It’s a game that is important for both of us. They’re very similar to us.”

Washburn has come a long way from last year’s one win season as they vie for a spot in the MIAA tournament. The Lady Blues must finish in the top eight of the MIAA standings for a shot at postseason play. The Blues believe they are capable of reaching the tournament.

“We’re looking for that final win that will get us into the conference tournament so we can go kick some more ass in the postseason,” said Doescher.

The Lady Blues continue to grow and look to finish strong in their final games of the regular season.

“We feel good going into the last four games of the season. It’s going to take two wins to get into the conference tournament,” said Collins. “Last year you can characterize us as being kind of on the field and waiting around for somebody else to do the job whereas here we try to get the job done ourselves.”