SAN MARCOS — The CSUSM women’s soccer team lost their final regular season game at home Oct. 21, 1-0 to Westminster College. The loss will prevent the team from getting a first-round host, said head coach Ron Pulvers, but the team will be ranked no. 1 as they head to Thomasville, Ga. for the A.I.I. Conference tournament beginning Nov.10.
“We’ve got to win that tournament,” Pulvers said. “If we don’t win that tournament our season’s going to be over.”
Despite a hosting opportunity on the line, the Cougars didn’t depart from their normal playing style, including remaining physical on the field.
“Our team is known for being one of the most physical teams in the nation,” said forward Shelby Bush. “And that’s what we pride ourselves on…running teams over and wearing them out and, we play every game like that.”
The Cougars fell behind 1-0 in the 20th minute after Westminster College’s forward Margo Hickman scored on defensive lapse.
After the game, Pulvers said it was playoff-type soccer. “I thought we dominated the whole game, except we had one mistake that they capitalized,” he said.
Pulvers did give credit to Westminster for withstanding the pressure the Cougars were able to apply.
Looking for that one elusive goal, Bush said: “You have to believe that it’s going to come. We had opportunities; we out-shot them; we had more corner kicks than them; it was going to come, we just didn’t have whatever we needed.”
The team will begin to prepare for the tournament after finishing the season with a 13-3-1 record.
What they’ll take from this season into the playoffs with them is a sense that they can’t get too confident, Bush said.
“We’ve got to go in and know that we have to work hard, and that’s what our team’s all about — is just working really hard. We might not have the best skill, we might not be able to pass the ball as well as some other teams, but we just work really hard and that’s what we pride ourselves on,” she added.
“The lessons are always greatly learned, especially the one here today,” said Pulvers. “We’ll see if we’re able to learn from this and move on, we’ll be a better team because of it.”