Nov. 23, 2003
PORTLAND, Ore.- Santa Clara University freshman goalkeeper Julie Ryder stopped two Portland PK attempts to lead the third-ranked women's soccer team past the defending NCAA Champions Portland in NCAA third-round action this afternoon at Merlo Field in Portland. After playing a scoreless double-overtime contest, the Broncos bested the Pilots 4-2 in penalty kicks.
Santa Clara's record moves to 14-3-6. The team will face top-seeded North Carolina (24-0-0) in the quarterfinal round of the tournament, to be held next Friday, November 28 at 3 p.m. Pacific Time at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Pilots end their season with an 18-3-2 record.
"This was a beautiful soccer game," SCU head coach Jerry Smith said after the contest. "It's unfortunate that we had to meet in such an early round. Today's game showed how good the teams are. You hate to see somebody lose this type of match."
After the two overtime periods, the teams moved into shoot-out, with Santa Clara going first. Junior Leslie Osborne's right-footed shot easily found the upper left corner, as Pilot keeper Cori Alexander guessed in the opposite direction. Kristen Rogers then went for Portland, but was stopped by Ryder's diving save, with one hand pushing the ball off the post and out of harm's way.
Santa Clara took a 2-0 lead in the shoot out with senior Veronica Zepeda's low shot to the right. Ryder then stifled Lisa Sari's attempt to preserve the Bronco advantage.
Senior Kristi Candau's right-footed shot slipped under Alexender to the left to increase the Bronco lead. Portland got on the board with Kari Evans' shot. Junior Jessica Ballweg was the Broncos' fourth shooter, but her attempt was stopped when the Pilot keeper guessed right.
Portland closed the advantage when Colleen Salisbury netted her shot high and to the left, but it was to no avail, as freshman Tina Estrada stepped up to the spot and nailed her shot low and to the left.
"I knew we were going to win; I had no doubt, even when the match went into overtime," Osborne said. "Even when we were going into the shoot out, I was still confident."
This match is also believed to be the Bronco program's first match decided by PKs since 1990, when SCU fell to Connecticut 2-1 in the NCAA semifinals. Smith added that this is his first PK victory--as a player or a coach--in the approximately 15 shoot-out matches he has been a part of.
First-half action saw Santa Clara out-shoot Portland 6-2, including a breakaway shot by Zepeda that hit the inside right post. The Pilots had more offensive opportunities, but were called for four offsides in the period.
Portland opened the second period with three shots, including one from Angie Woznuk, who hit the same inside right post with an open net in front of her, after Ryder was not able to cleanly hold a through ball. Pilot Lisa Sari headed an opportunity in the 75th minute, as Portland had outshot SCU 5-0 at that point in the second half. In the 80th minute, Santa Clara finally got a shot off, by Megan Kakadelas.
Portland finished the second half with an 8-2 shot advantage, including an attempt that was just wide with under a minute left in regulation. The Pilots were whistled for four more offsides violations.
Midway through the first overtime, there was an intense scramble in the goal box, with Kakadelas and Estrada squeezing in shots. Portland followed with a shot by Sari with one minute remaining in the extra period.
Santa Clara controlled the second overtime, with the Broncos' first shot coming from Zepeda, off a corner. Estrada followed less than a minute later with another attempt.
Ryder and Alexander finished with six saves each, with Ryder's mark tying her season high.
The Broncos, the 2001 National Champions and 2002 College Cup finalists, are the tournament's ninth overall seed and are making their 15th straight NCAA postseason appearance. The 2003 Women's College Cup will be held December 5 and 7 and is hosted by North Carolina State University and the Capital Area Soccer League in Cary, N.C.