Defending champs ousted

    In the National Collegiate Athletic Association Far West Regional Final on Nov. 17, the UC Davis Aggies managed to oust formerly No. 6-ranked UCSD in an electrifying double-overtime game that culminated in a penalty kick shootout that resulted from the score being tied 1-1 after 110 minutes of play. The loss ended the Tritons’ hopes of three-peating as Division II national champions.

    Lyon Liew

    “”The game could have gone either way, but the girls played well and it was a great game,”” Triton head coach Brian McManus said.

    The game saw UCSD step up its game each half and then intensified its energy during each overtime period.

    The sole Triton goal was scored by midfielder Sarah Shopbach with assists from forward Kristin Jones and midfielder Kristen Conahan. Jones sent a cross from the right side, and Shopbach put it into the Aggie goal in the 15th minute.

    Lyon View

    “”It was a good cross by Jones, and luckily, I got my foot on it,”” Shopback said.

    Much of the game’s action was concentrated in the midfield, but rallies and charges led to several near misses throughout a game that matched two high-quality teams.

    Determined Tritons like defender Molly Carlson and midfielder Amy Goker decisively defeated each early UC Davis attempt to capture a goal.

    “”We kept them from shooting from the 35 yards mark,”” McManus said.

    Nevertheless, the Aggies answered the brief Triton lead two minutes after UCSD’s goal with a shot from UC Davis player Shannon Mally, who headed the ball off a cross from teammate Kristin Patterson.

    At the end of the first half, the teams were still tied, but the Aggies made many dogged rushes to the goal.

    “”Davis pummeled us first half, but we came back second [half],”” Jones said.

    The ball was shuttled down the field quickly by key players like forward Shannon Harrelson and midfielder Kristina de la Rosa several times during the second half, but the ball was defiantly kicked back across the field each time.

    Midfielder Jackie Shaffer and defender Heather Szafraniec displayed well-honed abilities with solid passes made the entire game.

    The score was still 1-1 after regulation, forcing overtime. When the game couldn’t be decided during the two 10-minute segments of extra play, the contest was decided on penalty kicks.

    “”Penalties are a bad way to decide things,”” McManus said. “”I’m in favor of having more overtimes to decide things if there’s still daylight.””

    Although the Tritons did not expect the game to come to a series of penalty shots, they did practice them earlier.

    “”Jamie [Lautschleger, UCSD’s goalkeeper], was close to every shot, was confident, and loves a challenge,”” Jones said.

    Each team had five penalty kicks that were to be made by five different players.

    The final penalty kick by Aggie Cynthia Rail, UC Davis’ offensive Most Valuable Player, entered the goal, resulting in UC Davis being able to advance into the quarterfinal round of the 2002 NCAA Division II Championships.

    During the game, the Aggies had 19 fouls, while UCSD only committed 12. Oftentimes, the Aggies fought against Triton rallies with kicks, pulls and pushes on UCSD players and their clothing.

    Triton defender Christine Wensel retaliated at one point with a push, but was promptly given a yellow card by the referee.

    UC Davis was also plagued by bad kicks, but made up for it with constant substitutions to keep their energy level high.

    The Aggies had over twice the number of shots per period than the Tritons, but UCSD had more than double the amount of corner kicks, most of which were taken during the second half of the game.

    Both teams failed to capitalize on several chances to score because each team knew the strengths and weaknesses of the other.

    “”They were not dangerous shots, but Davis definitely had [missed] scoring opportunities, too,”” Jones said of the Aggies’ attempts to get more goals.

    UCSD and UC Davis played each other twice earlier this season, and Tritons bested the Aggies each time.

    “”In the back of my mind, I thought we would win,”” Wensel said.

    UCSD was disheartened by the loss, especially after playing a tough game.

    “”I was crushed, especially seeing the other team celebrate on our home turf,”” Jones said.

    The Aggies will advance to face Colorado’s Metro State next weekend in the national quarterfinals.

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