When asked to recollect on the season up to its current position, ACU women’s soccer head coach Casey Wilson initially divided the season into three separate entities: non-conference, conference and the post-season.
Sunday at 1 p.m., the No. 17 Wildcats will embark on the beginning of their third season, one in which Wilson says is the most important of the three.
“Everything up to this point is somewhat irrelevant,” Wilson said. “We are solely focused on the task at hand and doing all we can to prolong our season. That’s a big task to say the least.”
That task begins Friday, Nov. 11, as ACU, the top-seeded team in the NCAA South Central region, plays host to the NCAA Championship first and second round matches Friday and Sunday, which begin at 2 p.m.
The Wildcats earned a bye in the first round and will play the winner of the St. Edwards and Midwestern State game that will be played on Friday.
“Having the opportunity to play at home is a special thing,” Wilson said. “It took us winning 18 games to get it. A lot of programs around the nation don’t get to experience this, and we’re hoping to use the location to our advantage.”
The Wildcats would be playing for something more than simply a win against either St. Edwards or Midwestern State, as ACU is looking for a little bit of revenge against both.
ACU has played the Mustangs three times this season, beating them twice in the regular season prior to losing 2-1 to them in Sunday’s Lone Star Conference Championship Game. The loss marked the program’s first loss of its 2011 campaign.
“The loss left a bitter taste in our mouth,” junior midfielder Julie Coppedge said. “It’s something we don’t want to feel again because the next one will have a terminal cost.”
The fifth-seeded Mustangs are led by all-LSC selections Kelsey Hill and Lindsay Pritchard, who have combined to score 49 of the Mustangs’ 104 points this season.
Mallory Whitworth, MSU goalkeeper, has posted five shutouts and a 0.70 goals against average on the season.
“Midwestern is riding a hot streak right now,” Wilson said. “Against them, it would be extremely important to come out early and dictate the flow and tempo of the game.”
St. Edwards also has been on ACU’s radar since this time last season. The Hilltoppers defeated ACU in the same game as the potential matchup last year in penalty kicks (4-3) prior to being tied at 1 after regulation in Austin.
“Last year ended on a sour note against them, so that game is definitely serving as motivation for this one,” senior goalkeeper Elliott London said.
The Hilltoppers (15-2-1) have caught fire as of late, too. The team has won its last four matches by a combined score of 15-2.
“St. Edwards is a very talented and dangerous team,” Wilson said. They move the ball well and play a possession game. Athlete for athlete, there is not a lot of room for error against them.”
ACU is coming off its first loss this season and is ready to get back on the field.
“Our girls are just ready to play and put Sunday’s game behind them,” Wilson said. “We owe each of these teams a game, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity presented to us.”