KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The best season in CSU Bakersfield’s women’s soccer team’s Division I history came to an end Friday night with a loss in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The tournament host UMKC Kangaroos got out to an early lead and pressured the Roadrunners often en route to a 4-0 victory.
“Any time you lose a semifinal and the season ends, it hurts, and there is a great deal of disappointment that goes with it,” said Gary Curneen, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “Goals change games and we have to give credit to UMKC for taking their chances in the first half and being clinical.”
Curneen went on to summarize the game and CSUB’s season: “It wasn’t our best performance of the season, but, I can’t fault the work rate and effort of our team. This has been the case all season. I am proud to be associated with this group. Special thanks must go to Whitney Strong for coming back for another year. She has been a leader on this team and has left a legacy that will impact future Roadrunners.”
UMKC struck first with a goal in the 22nd minute by senior Emily Herndon. A ball crossed along the top of the box by Lexie Howard was volleyed home by Herndon to put the 'Roos ahead 1-0 early in the match. With just over four minutes to go in the first half, the ‘Roos extended their lead to 2-0 off of a corner kick. Niekie Pellens headed home the service to give UMKC its second goal of the half.
Five minutes into the second period, the ‘Runner backline was beat by Herndon, who earned a penalty kick after being taken down inside the box. Although CSUB goalkeeper Jen Padilla dove the correct direction, the ball slipped past her outstretched hand and gave the ‘Roos a 3-0 lead. In the 55th minute, Abby Small curled a ball into the left side of the net to put UMKC ahead by four goals.
Despite falling on Friday night, CSUB finished its season at 8-10-2 (4-2-1 WAC) with a number of school Divison I records. The 2016 edition of the 'Runners reset or tied records for wins, shutouts, and goals, among several others.
With the 2016 season wrapped up, the ‘Runners will return to Bakersfield and begin preparation for next year. CSUB’s starting lineups this season regularly featured no student-athletes older than a pair of juniors. A very young squad, the ‘Runners have gained vital experience for the future and have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in the WAC.