Lady Blues welcome No. 20 Nebraska-Omaha to MIAA, win 4-3

Jessica Mainz, No. 13, and Danielle Ayala celebrate a goal against UNO.

John Henderson

The Lady Blues have found their winning groove after beating No. 20 Nebraska-Omaha 4-3 in Yager Stadium Saturday night. The win puts the Lady Blues record at 8-5-1 overall, with a 4-4 conference record.

WU scored three goals in the first half in an offensive flurry. Danielle Ayala scored her fourth goal of the season in the 14th minute of play. Lauren Henry provided the assist on that goal and followed up with a score of her own at the 33:24 mark. Jessica Mainz earned an assist on both that goal and Ayala’s second score of the evening, her fifth of the year, in the 38th minute of play.

Washburn barely missed out on a first half shutout, as UNO scored right before the half ended.

Mainz started the second half with an unassisted goal, her sixth score of the season. While this put the Lady Blues at a 4-1 advantage, UNO was still able to score twice, including one corner shot.

Despite being outshot 13-11, WU still won the game thanks to four saves from goalkeeper Ashley Klone.

Just when it seemed the Lady Blues’ season was in trouble, the team has managed to bounce back and win four games in a row.

There was a little extra motivation against the Mavericks on Saturday.

Two years ago, UNO was ranked No. 1 in the country and beat WU in the playoffs in a shootout.

The close loss ended the best season in Lady Blue soccer history, and a few players on this year’s team have not forgotten the pain of an NCAA tournament exit.

Now the Lady Blues have a .500 conference record (4-4) and a schedule that has WU going on the road for six of the next eight games.

It will not be an easy road to the postseason, but the team’s chances of making it are much better than they were two weeks ago.

The road trip begins against Emporia State on Saturday, a team that has been one of the MIAA’s worst the past couple years, and is 3-8 with a 1-6 conference record.

While the teams may look mismatched on paper, the Blues shouldn’t have a lack of motivation for this game either.

Like all of WU’s remaining fall sports, the team continues the long-standing rivalry with the Hornets, and hopes to build on their odds of making the postseason in the process.