PORTLAND – Washington State gave the University of Portland a run for its money Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Division I women’s soccer championships.
But in the end, it was the Pilots who cashed in.
Portland held a 6-5 advantage in penalty kicks after the teams played to a 2-2 tie through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods for a 3-2 decision.
From a first glance at the stats, it would seem WSU would run away with the game.
The Cougars held a 19-9 shot advantage. But each time WSU scored, Portland responded.
The Cougars had opportunities early and often, accumulating nine shots in the first half, compared to the Pilots’ two.
In the 36th minute, Brandi Vega scored off a pass from Micaela Castain.
It seemed WSU had all the momentum continued to pressure Pilots keeper Erin Dees.
With one of its few chances in the first half, Portland took advantage. Kendall Johnson tied the game as Amanda Frisbee slotted a ball to the middle of the penalty box where Johnson nudged it into the goal with her heel.
In the 54th minute, Nicole Setterlund scored for the Cougars after Delaney Zalud (Mt. Spokane) headed the ball toward the middle of the box. Setterlund saw the opportunity and scored.
Eight minutes later, Johnson struck again, as she found Michelle Cruz on a long through ball to knot the game.
The teams only combined for five shots throughout the 20 minutes of overtime, although chances were aplenty. Keeper Gurveen Clair of WSU saved a wide open shot with a minute remaining in the overtime. The second overtime, Clair had a toe-save, blocking a sure goal for Portland.
In penalty kicks, Jocelyn Jeffers, Vega, Castain and Katie Turney all scored, while the second of Portland’s kicks was saved by Clair. The Cougars would miss four of the next five PKs, allowing the Pilots to respond and claim the victory.
“Unfortunately, it’s sort of the way the season has gone,” WSU coach Keidane McAlpine said following the game. “We couldn’t find a way to close the deal, but it’s going to be one the things we work on.”
“I really think that, where were going with this team, is nowhere but positive. I think we can be a Top-10 team and I think we can make the Final Four,” sophomore Nicole Setterlund said after the game.
• Auburn scored two early goals and held on to beat Washington 2-1 in an NCAA match in Seattle. Auburn’s Tori Ball opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the 3rd minute. Mary Nicholson gave Auburn (13-10-1) a 2-0 lead with her 15th-minute goal.
Lindsay Elston scored in the 38th minute for UW (10-8-3).
Five Whitworth players earned All-Northwest Conference honors.
Mackenzie Grow and Andrea Stump were named to the first team, Jami Hegg and Tiara Pajimola were second-team selections and Carly Schilperoort earned honorable mention.