Women’s Soccer Falls 4-3 in Penalty Kicks

Andrew Oh / Guardian File

The No. 9 women’s soccer team saw its 10-game winning streak snapped in a penalty kick shootout last Friday, as Tritons fell in the CCAA playoffs against San Francisco State University.

The teams played to a 1-1 draw, but the Tritons lost 4-3 in penalty kicks. The loss eliminated the Tritons from the conference finals. But since all penalty shootout losses are recognized as a tie in conference and national rankings, the Tritons remain unbeaten in the past 14 matches and should maintain their spot in the national tournament. A selection committee will determine the seeds and sites for the NCAA Division-II championships.

UCSD opened the scoring early in the match, when forward Annette Ilg received a cross from sophomore defender Hayley Johnson in the 13th minute. Ilg — recently named the CCAA Newcomer of the Year — finished for her ninth goal of the season to put UCSD up 1-0.

The Tritons’ 1-0 lead was cut down five minutes into the second half, when 5’11” Gator midfielder Carly Bliss headed a cross in from the end line. This goal would be San Francisco State’s only shot on goal for the entire match. Despite a number of dangerous chances UCSD had in front of the Gator goal, the two teams ended the regulation and overtime play still tied 1-1.

“We came out really strong, and had bits of brilliance throughout the game,” junior goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong said. “But there were times where we didn’t play as well as we could, and it hurt us in the end.”

The two teams went into penalty kicks to break the draw. Sophomore defender Ellen Wilson shot first for the Tritons, but her attempt was saved by San Francisco State goalkeeper Anicia Jones. The score remained tied after the Gators also failed to finish their first penalty.

Senior Lisa Bradley converted her penalty kick, as did Gator forward Nicole Vanni. The next four shooters would all finish their attempts, bringing the score to 3-3. Alison Day missed the Gators’ final shot, giving UCSD’s Sarah McTigue a chance to end the game. But McTigue could not convert from the spot.

Still tied after five shots apiece, the shootout went to sudden death penalties. The Gators’ Myriah Johnson finished her attempt, putting them up 4-3. Ilg was called up to take the shot for the Tritons, but was unable to finish, putting the Gators into the CCAA finals on Sunday.

The loss marks the second consecutive year the Tritons have been eliminated from the CCAA semi-finals from penalty kicks, after they lost to Cal State Dominguez Hills last season.

“I’m not sure what went on during the penalty kicks, but almost every field player misses a penalty kick at least once in their life,” Armstrong said. “All we can do is put it behind us so we can continue to have confidence in future shootouts.”

Because not all conferences hold postseason tournaments, the selection committee puts little weight on them in their decisions. Barring an unexpected snub, the Tritons will continue into the regional finals, where they will likely be accompanied by CCAA finalists Cal State Los Angeles, 2007-08 national champions Seattle Pacific University and West Region No. 1 BYU-Hawaii.