INDIANOLA, Iowa -- The storybook season ends for the fourth-seeded Simpson women's soccer team in a 1-0 loss to fifth-seeded Luther in the American Rivers Conference Tournament opener Saturday night at home.
The Storm (10-4-5) are the first Simpson women's soccer team to reach the conference tournament since 2013 and first to hit the 10-win mark since 2011.
Both teams were held scoreless through the first 45 minutes of play before the Norse (8-8-2) cracked open the scoring in the 51st minute. A Luther player was fouled near the goal to warrant a penalty kick and was able to slice one into the back of the net for the game-winner and keep the Norse's season alive.
Simpson only had one shot attempt in the first half, but had a good chance to score. In the 41st minute just before halftime, Dani Marquez had only the goalie to beat to give the Storm an early 1-0 lead, but pushed the ball too far left of the post to keep the match scoreless.
Megan Roberts connected on a strong kick to the center of the net in the 60th, but an outstretched Luther goalie was able to get her mitts on the ball. As a unit, the Storm tallied just four shots in the second half as the Norse attempted seven in the frame.
Rachel Neumann was busy in the net by producing four saves to keep the match close. The sophomore ends the season with a .886 save percentage and .614 goals against average to lead the league in both categories.
Cami Schmalz closes as the team's point leader with 17, including eight goals and one assist.
• The Storm end the year with 11 shutouts after starting the campaign with five straight.
• The 2018 squad scored just 15 goals and allowed 39 while this year's team scored 26 times and allowed just 12 netters during the season in three more matches played.
• Simpson had a six-match turnaround from last year's team in only head coach Jeremy Reinert's second season at the helm. The win improvement ties the mark set by the 2011 team, which finished with 13 wins after the 2010 squad had seven.