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April 19, 2021
PHOENIX – Seattle University women's soccer advanced to its NCAA-leading eighth straight Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Championship with a 3-2 win at Grand Canyon Thursday night. Ava Benedetti, Kacey LaBoda, and Hallie Bergford each scored in the semifinal victory at GCU Soccer Stadium. The win pushes SU to the tournament final on Saturday, as it will take top-seeded Utah Valley at GCU. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. The Redhawks are two-time defending WAC Tournament champions. This will mark the fourth meeting between Seattle U and UVU in the final round. The teams started out hot, with action coming all over the field. SU tried two early shots, but the match went into the midway point of the half scoreless. In the 32nd minute, GCU made a mistake and Benedetti capitalized. The Lope defender got turned around with the ball and Benedetti swooped in with open field ahead of her. The sophomore sprinted ahead and smashed a line drive into the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage. The score marked Benedetti's eighth goal of the season. GCU quickly responded with a tying goal in the 35th minute, but SU regained the lead just over two minutes later. A Lope foul set up a Natalie Dixon free kick from 35 yards out. She lobbed a terrific ball to the far post, where it was batted around and came down in front of LaBoda, who drilled a shot from five yards out that paydirt and a 2-1 margin at the 36:53 mark. Another Grand Canyon miscue set up the Redhawks' third goal in the 50th minute. Benedetti intercepted a pass and rounded the GCU goalkeeper. Her pass back towards goal was redirected to Bergford, who calmly deposited the open look into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead. The hosts pulled within one in the 81st minute, but the Redhawks did enough to keep out of danger as time ran out in Phoenix.
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