Week 6
Published Jun 19, 2024

Written By:  Sofia Scekic





Week six in the Heartland Conference brought a shakeup to the standings, as Oklahoma City FC (4-2-0) vaulted into the top spot with a win mid-week and a draw over the weekend that now sits it in first place with 14 points. 

No. 10 KC Courage (4-0-1), who held the top spot in the conference standings for most of the season, slid into third place with 12 points after not playing this weekend. The Courage have an opportunity to reclaim first place when it returns to the pitch this Thursday. 

The rest of the games during week six primarily saw teams that are sitting in the second half of the conference standings fighting for points late in the season. After Union KC (4-1-0) defeated the Missouri Reign (1-0-5) 3-1 on Friday evening to move into second in the standings with 13 points, Saturday’s action kicked off with fourth-place FC Wichita (3-0-4) shutting out Side FC 92 (1-0-6). 

Sunflower State FC (2-1-3) played tough against Oklahoma City on Saturday evening, earning a point for the 1-1 draw. Sunflower State then wrapped up the weekend with an emphatic 4-1 win over Side FC to pick up several more points for a total of seven with the season two-thirds of the way complete.

Oklahoma City opened week six in the conference with a 6-0 blowout of Side FC in Tulsa, a game in which midfielder Fran Martella (Mid-America Christian University) recorded the team’s first hat trick this season with goals in the 59’, 79’, and 90’ minutes. Forward Kyla Lovelace (Oklahoma Christian University), playing in her first game this season and coming off of the bench, also scored a brace, finding the back of the net in the 28’ and 74’ minutes. 

Side FC managed to contain Oklahoma City’s offense for 45 minutes and headed to the locker room down just 1-0. Coming out of the half, though, forward Emma Rice (University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma) began the goal-scoring torrent with a goal in the 52’ minute before Lovelace and Martella found their groove and proved to be too much for Side FC to handle for the remainder of the game. The win moved Oklahoma City to the top of the conference standings.

Saturday’s game at home, where Oklahoma City faced off against Sunflower State, proved to be a more difficult test: Oklahoma City entered the locker room down 1-0 at the half after Sunflower State forward Thayline Teixeira (Coffeyville Community College) put a point on the board in the 19’ minute. 

Rice managed to score the equalizer in the 90’ minute to avoid Oklahoma City’s first loss of the season. Three of Sunflower State’s players received yellow cards during the game, an indication of its chippiness and the tenacity with which both teams played.

Oklahoma City is back in action again on Saturday, traveling to take on the Reign in the evening. The Reign’s only win this season was in week three over last-place Side FC, but Oklahoma City will be looking to keep it’s foot on the gas for the remaining three weeks of the regular season in order to stay ahead of the KC Courage in the conference standings to earn its spot in the playoffs. 

Union KC also stayed squarely in the playoff race with its 3-1 win over the Reign on Friday evening in Columbia, Mo. Forward Hope Kim kicked off the scoring in the 15’ minute with a goal off of an assist from midfielder Allison Estanich (Maryville University); Estanich would add to the score sheet with a goal of her own in the 81’ minute. 

Midfielder/forward Hannah Larson (Saint Louis University) quickly followed up Kim’s goal in the 21 minute with another one to make the score 2-0 and put Union KC firmly in control of the game. The Reign’s forward Macie Lucas (Columbia College) came off the bench to score in the 63’ minute, but Union KC’s staunch defense combined with an offense that spread the ball around proved to be too much to overcome.

Union KC still has four games left this season, including two against the Courage; one will be played on its home pitch in Lee’s Summit, Mo. while the second will be played at Avila University in Kansas City. 

Another one of Union KC’s remaining games will be a trip to Oklahoma City to close out the regular season in week eight. While the club isn’t necessarily in “must-win” mode yet to have a shot at the playoffs and is still squarely in the playoff race, Union KC cannot afford to drop all three of those games against the conference’s top teams if it wants to earn a trip to the postseason. 

In the conference’s other week six games, Wichita shut out Side FC 2-0 while Sunflower State defeated Side FC 4-1 one day later. Forward Allison Worley (Fort Hays State University) scored both goals for Wichita on Saturday, coming out swinging in the first half with a goal in the third minute and again in the second half in the 51st minute. 

Side FC’s Caid Jefferson, a recent high school graduate, put her team up 1-0 in the third minute but the club’s offense could not capitalize on their chances for the rest of the night. Sunflower State’s balanced offensive attack, led by forward Mackenzie Dimarco (Emporia State University) (one goal) and Teixeira (two assists), steadily tacked on points throughout the rest of the game to earn the win. 

Sunflower State is back in action next Saturday at home with a match against FC Wichita, while Side FC also gets a few days of rest before a tough road test against the Courage, also scheduled for next Saturday.