December 8, 2002

Women's Soccer Falls in National Championship Title Contest

Dec. 8, 2002

Box Score| Quotes| Notes| Photo Gallery

AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Portland's Christine Sinclair scored in double overtime to lead the Pilots' women's soccer team to their first national championship, 2-1 victory over defending title holder Santa Clara University this evening at the College Cup final, hosted by the University of Texas at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Broncos controlled the momentum for most of the first overtime period, but it was Sinclair who got the Pilots going in the second, taking a shot that sailed just high. A Bronco later made a pass across the midfield that was intercepted by Pilot Kristen Moore. Moore's cross found Sinclair, whose first shot was bounced off Bronco keeper Alyssa Sobolik's shoulder. That block went off the right post right back to Sinclair, who tapped in the golden goal.

Santa Clara ends its season with a 20-5-1 overall record, while Portland improves to 20-4-2. The match aired live on ESPN and was played in rainy weather conditions in front of 10,027 fans. The Pilots, seeded eighth, became the lowest-seeded team to take the title.

For the entire College Cup, sophomore defender Jessica Ballweg was named the most valuable defensive player. Seniors Aly Wagner and Devvyn Hawkins, along with junior Veronica Zepeda, joined Ballweg on the All-College Cup team.

The All-West Coast Conference final marked only the third time in College Cup history where two teams from the same league faced off for the Championship, joining UNC vs. Duke in 1992 and UNC vs. NC State in 1988. Additionally, Sunday's title game was just the second without the Tar Heels, and the first since 1995, in which the Pilots lost to Notre Dame. It also marked the third overtime title game in Championship history, with the 1995 (Portland vs. Notre Dame) and '96 (North Carolina vs. Notre Dame) as the other two contests.

Santa Clara only took two shots in the first half, the first a header by sophomore Leslie Osborne, off a throw-in midway through the first half. Hawkins added a long attempt in the final minute of the period. Portland saw more offensive opportunities, taking five shots, three of which were on goal, and five corner kicks. Sobolik registered three saves in first-half action.

Junior reserve Kristi Candau took the team's third overall shot of the game early in the second half and set up SCU's first corner kick of the contest. Wagner served the ball from the far side to Osborne, who headed it to Candau. Candau's header shot was blocked by Portland's keeper, Lauren Arase, but the rebound went to SCU junior defender Chardonnay Poole, whose sliding attempt rebounded off the crossbar right to Hawkins. Hawkins right-footed kick found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute.

Hawkin's goal marked the first time since November 3-a span of almost 810 minutes-that Portland had been scored upon, and that goal came by SCU's Bree Horvath in a 1-0 victory at Portland during the regular season. The Pilots entered the championship contest as the first team since the NCAA Tournament bracket expanded to 64 teams in 2000 that a team has not allowed a goal and the fourth team overall.

Sinclair evened the match up with an unassisted goal in the 61st minute. She took a Bronco defender to the corner but came back out and shot it low and bent it by Sobolik. It marked Sinclair's 25th goal of the season and 19th point of the 2002 tournament, breaking Mia Hamm's 1993 postseason record of 16 points. Her final tally set the new mark at 21 points.

Wagner took another corner right after the television time out, and Poole's header bounced off the left post and partially on the goal line. It was heading completely into the goal, but Arase arrived in time to prevent the score.

At the end of regulation, shots favored Portland, 19-12.

Both teams entered overtime undefeated, as the Broncos went 2-0-1 during the regular season, while the Pilots went 2-0-2. Wagner and Osborne took solid attempts in the overtime, but Arase got a handle on each. SCU's third shot was a header by Osborne that Arase blocked, and in the ensuing scramble, Arase got a knee to the head and left the game. Her replacement, Kim Head, had only faced one shot on the season in 25 minutes action. Santa Clara finished the period outshooting Portland 4-1.

Portland finished with 24 shots, the most the Broncos have allowed all season. Santa Clara finished with 16.

The College Cup attendance for the weekend was 20,067, making this year's event the second most attended in the tournament's history.