College Soccer

Whitworth Men, SPU Women bow out of NCAA’s

Overtime Loss Drops Falcons from Playoffs

La Jolla, Calif. – Jessica Wi scored a golden goal just over three minutes into in the final overtime Saturday as fifth-ranked UC San Diego eliminated Seattle Pacific from the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Tournament with a 2-1 result at Triton Soccer Stadium.

Second-seeded UCSD (15-2-3) advances to next week’s West Regional championship game.

The No. 3 seed Falcons (15-4-2) saw their season end two days after posting a 1-0 opening-round playoff win over BYU-Hawaii.

“We gave ourselves some chances to win tonight and I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” said Coach Chuck Sekyra, who directed SPU into the postseason in each of his 10 seasons.

“It’s hard to be upset after our effort tonight. We played our butts off against a very seasoned, veteran team on their field, in front of their crowd. Our kids carried out our game plan and played their hearts out. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

SPU nearly won Saturday’s game at the end of regulation. A hard, 20-yard shot by Annie Thomas (Lake Stevens, Wash./Lake Stevens HS) with five seconds showing on the clock bounced off the underside of the crossbar, but did not go into the goal.

“I thought it was going in, but obviously it didn’t,” Sekyra described. “That’s the way it goes. It was good crack.”

Instead, the teams proceeded to play a scoreless first 10-minute overtime session. The Tritons pressured the SPU goal early in the second overtime and got off two quick shots.

They won a corner kick that was served into the box. The ball bounced around among several players before squirting loose to Wi near the left post. She tapped it into the left side of the goal at 103:17 to end the game.

In the first half, San Diego got into the scoring column first when Gabi Hernandez poked in a loose ball on the left side near the goal line at 18:18. A corner kick dropped into the box and the ball fell to the feet of Hernandez during a scramble in the goalmouth. She tallied her eighth goal of the season.

SPU’s leading scorer Megan Lindsay netted the equalizer at 32:50, gathering a rebound near the left post and booting it in for her 12th goal. Thomas initiated the scoring play with a high, 25-yard shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky, who was unable to control the ball.

“Her effort on following the shot, it was awesome,” Sekyra said. “That’s what Megan has lived on her whole time here, hustling and having a great attitude about being a goal-scorer. Tonight she believed the ball would be there and found a rebound.”

A senior forward, Lindsay (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) completed her collegiate career as the Falcons No. 3 all-time scorer with 41 career goals.

Junior goalkeeper Natalie Harold (Vancouver, Wash./Heritage HS) made three saves for SPU, which was outshot by a 20-16 margin. She made a tremendous save on an 18th-minute shot by Wi with a divehigh to her right to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Harold got some help from the framework as two Triton shots caromed off the crossbar and two deflected off the post.

Brodsky stopped four shots for San Diego.

Saturday marked the fifth NCAA Tournament clash between the West Coast women’s soccer powers. UCSD won its third playoff matchup, including 2010 and 2006 decisions. The Falcons were victorious in 2008 and 2005.

They are both former national champions as SPU won the 2008 title and the Tritons won back-to-back crowns in 2000 and 2001.

Pirates fall in opening round

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The 2012 Whitworth men’s soccer season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Mississippi College in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday evening at Trinity University.

(Photos)

The Pirates fell to 13-3-3 and it marks only the second time that Whitworth has not advanced past the first round in seven NCAA tournament appearances. Meanwhile the Choctaws improved to 13-5-2 in their first-ever NCAA tournament contest and move on to play the winner of the match between host Trinity and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

“I thought we played well and worked hard,” said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. “It was a good game by both teams and I believe we represented Whitworth and Whitworth soccer well.”

The only goal of the match came in the 53rd minute. Diego Ayala scored the winner on a double assist from Harrison Russell and Wesley Noble.

The Pirates pressured the MC net with several late shots, but could not get the ball into the goal.

Each team finished with nine shots and Whitworth had a slight 4-3 edge in shots on-goal. Robert Jackson made three saves in net for the Choctaws. Kyle Novak made two stops in his final matches as the Pirates’ netminder.

“We are very disappointed to lose, but that is the beauty of the game,” Bushey concluded. “To win is hard. You must earn it and sometimes when you may have earned it, you still may not get the rewards you desire. Yet you are continued to be called upon to give your very best. That is what we did.”

Whitworth will return 10 starters in 2013.

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