FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
ALLENDALE, Mich. – The 24th-ranked Fort Hays State women’s soccer team saw its 2016 season come to an end on Friday (Nov. 18) with a 1-0 loss to 3rd-ranked Central Missouri in the NCAA Division II Central Region Championship. The Tigers ended the season at 15-5-3, while the Jennies advance to the national quarterfinal on Sunday (Nov. 20) improving to 21-1 on the season.
Fort Hays State played well and had opportunities to score, but could not capitalize. The Tigers outshot the Jennies 13-8 and had twice as many shots on target with six compared to Central Missouri’s three.
The first half of the match was quiet as both teams went scoreless. That changed early in the second half when UCM struck just 6:35 into the period. Hannah Pyle settled a ball in the Tiger box that put her in a one-on-one with the Tiger goalkeeper Abbie Flax. Flax did all she could to get in front of the ball but the ball went over her diving body and across the goal line. That was all the Jennies needed as their top-ranked defense did the rest. UCM went on to record its 19th shutout of the season.
The 2016 season will go down as the best season in FHSU women’s soccer history so far. The Tigers set a program record with 15 wins on the season, surpassing the old mark of 14 set back in 2012. They recorded their first postseason win in program history with a 3-1 win over Harding in the NCAA Tournament First Round, and advanced to Central Region Championship match for the first time ever following a 4-2 penalty kick triumph over Minnesota State. They also claimed their first MIAA regular season crown as co-champions with Central Missouri after going 10-1 in conference play this year.
As a team, the Tigers tied the program record for goals in a season with 44 as well as assists in a season with 37. FHSU had 11 players named to the All-MIAA team, including Co-Defensive Player of the Year Hannah Smith. Head Coach Craig Shaw earned MIAA Coach of the Year. Smith, as well as fellow defender Bailey Schmitz garnered D2CCA All-Central Region honors this season. Shaw also surpassed the century mark in career wins this season and now sits at 106-63-13 all-time and 66-44-11 while directing the Tigers.