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A talented team looks to the future

soccer players celebrate on field
Boise State University Athletics, Women’s Soccer versus Fresno State University 11.4.2021, Mountain West Women’s Soccer Tournament Fall 2021, Semi-Finals Game 2, Photo by Tyler Mcfarland

Sitting at 11th place in the Mountain West Conference standings, the Boise State women’s soccer team clinched the sixth and final qualifying spot in the conference tournament. After a magical run, beating out third-seeded San Diego State and second-seeded Fresno State, the team’s season ended in the finals with a loss in overtime to New Mexico on Nov. 6.

Nonetheless, this group of athletes, said Head Coach Jim Thomas, is something truly special. “The manner in which this squad has stayed strong, and, through turbulent challenges, stayed together and continued to work, it’s been admirable,” Thomas said.

The Broncos kicked off their 2021 season with five consecutive victories — one over a Pac12 school — establishing a new program record. The 2019 Mountain West Championship team set the previous record with four consecutive wins.

Bouncing between wins and losses for the remainder of the season, the team had its hardest setback with three straight losses against San Diego State (0-2), the University of New Mexico (0-1) and San Jose State (1-2). However, its win over Fresno State (2-1) in October was a big accomplishment for the program.

Midfielder and pre-business major Kenzie MacMillan began her freshman year debut with a goal during the Broncos’ first game of the season against the University of Utah. Coming from her hometown of Mission Viejo, California, MacMillan said she’s learned that on this team, players play for one another.

“We had to continue to be there for each other and even in the hard times we had to support each other,” MacMillan said. “Maintain the hard work at practice on or off the field and keep the chemistry.”

Coming off her high school and club soccer seasons MacMillan said she’s had to adjust to playing with and looking up to older members on the team. She’s also adopted more fitness and learning techniques since coming to Boise State. Senior defender and computer science major Abby Bivens said choosing to play at Boise State was one of the best decisions she’s made. After transferring from the University of Alabama, Bivens said she fell in love with the team’s culture.

“I think [this team] is full of love and support and I think that it has very genuine people,” Bivens said.

Originally from Fullerton, California, Bivens found that the University of Alabama was no longer the right fit. After getting connected and talking with coaches, Bivens found her place, wearing a Bronco uniform.

No matter its wins and losses, the Boise State women’s soccer program plans on sticking together and building up stronger for the future. The team, Thomas said, is graced with a winning combination of continuity plus fresh energy.

“The experience they’re going to get through all of this is going to project them onto great things for the rest of their lives. That’s my bigger goal,” Thomas said.

About the writer

Lexi Almeido portrait

Lexi Almeido, a senior from Las Vegas, Nevada, is pursuing a BA in media arts with an emphasis in journalism, plus certificates in innovation and design and sports information and culture. She is on the Mane Line Dance Team and is a member of Alpha Chi Omega. Almeido is sports and rec editor for The Arbiter and has her own sports podcast called “Hold the Mic.”