The 2019 Boise State women’s soccer team will reap the rewards of the 2018 season, and that’s perfectly fine with the Broncos’ six current seniors.
By winning the league’s regular-season title, the Broncos earned the right to host the Mountain West Conference Tournament for the first time in program history in 2019.
“We know that we have made a lot of changes on this program — the culture, everything — that’s going to last a long time after we leave,” Boise State senior defender Addison Standlee said. “That’s great, but to be able to have something tangible to say: ‘That’s what we left behind. We did that.’ Future Broncos are going to be able to enjoy that. We left this place better than we found it. That’s going to be huge for our soccer program.”
The 2018 squad has spent much of the season in uncharted territory. The Broncos (13-4-2) set numerous program and conference individual records, won their first regular-season championship and matched the single-season record for wins.
And their season isn’t over yet.
Boise State received a bye in the first round of the conference tournament, which began Tuesday in San Jose, California. The Broncos face host San Jose State (8-6-5) in the semifinals at 8 p.m. MT on Thursday. The game will be streamed online at https://themw.com/watch.
The Broncos and Spartans played to a scoreless tie through double overtime on Oct. 21 in Boise, part of a three-game stretch to close out the season that included two losses and a tie for the Broncos. Instead of taking the Mountain West championship outright, they had to share it with No. 2 Wyoming and No. 3 New Mexico.
“The ending of our (conference) season was not what we wanted, but you can’t go back and fix things. You’ve got to move forward,” Boise State junior Raimee Sherle said. “... The conference tournament is different. You win or you go home. You don’t get another chance, so everything is on the line, and I think we have a very motivated group.”
Boise State never has advanced to the Mountain West Tournament final. The Broncos won their only tournament title as a member of the Western Athletic Conference in 2009, earning their lone NCAA Tournament berth.
From the start of the schedule in August, the Broncos have voiced their intention to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAAs. Their status as the league’s best — at least during the regular season — was affirmed Monday with the release of the league’s annual awards.
With her NCAA-leading 20 goals, Sherle was chosen as the Mountain West offensive player of the year for the second year in a row, and Jim Thomas was named the Mountain West coach of the year.
Standlee and junior midfielder McKenna Kynett were given first-team recognition, while sophomore forward Aubree Chatterton, senior defender Eva Herrera and senior midfielder Michelle Reed earned spots on the second team. Freshman defender Macie Nelson was named to the newcomer team.
In all, the eight Broncos honored with postseason accolades were the most of any team in the conference.
“I think it’s important for all of our girls to understand that they know what they’ve done. They know what they’re capable of. They know who they are, and they know what team they’re a part of,” Thomas said. “That should be the reward. A piece of paper or acknowledgment from another person shouldn’t really count for much.”
The individual awards were never on the Broncos’ to-do list anyway. They’re simply the product of a success-driven team.
“We still have a lot of motivation,” Thomas said. “We still have a lot of things to prove.”