Tritons Fall in Conference Tournament

    The second-seeded Tritons went up against first-seed Loyola Marymount looking for the upset. UCSD came up just short, falling 7-6 in the championship bout.

    “I am so darn proud of these gals,” UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said. “They poured their hearts out today against a team that is phenomenal and quite frankly could win the national championship.”

    The nationally unranked Tritons needed a conference title for a NCAA tournament berth. The No. 7 Lions will advance to the first round, to be played on May 11, at San Diego State.

             The second-seeded Tritons, came into the game on the back of two wins in its preliminary matches. On Friday, April 27, UCSD came from behind to take a 12-7 win against seventh-seed Sonoma State. The following day, the Tritons fought for a close 10-9 win against sixth-seed CSU Monterey Bay.

    Despite a battle in the pool for a place in the title game, the Tritons didn’t seem saddled with fatigue on Sunday. UCSD went down early, but kept the game close throughout.

    The Tritons ended the first quarter with a slight 2-3 lead off consecutive goals—solo efforts— from sophomore standout Sarah Lizotte.

    “[Lizotte] has had some ups and downs this year, because we do put a lot of pressure on her shoulders, we ask her to do a lot for this team,” Kreutzkamp said. “And she has responded and sometimes she’s fallen short…We called her number again today, and I could see it in her eyes, she came to play.”

             The Lions overtook the lead in the second period with two goals from ______, off the same weak-side deflection past Triton goalkeeper Taylor.

             Lizotte netted her hat trick with a goal from 10 meters out, to keep the Tritons to within one point. Down 5-4, UCSD had the opportunity to tie the game in the last possession of the half, drawing the double-exclusion, but the Tritons were unable to convert in the clutch.

             For the remainder of the game, the Tritons continued knocking the ball around the two-meter mark but couldn’t put the ball in the net.

    “We ran a defensive scheme against [Loyola] that they hadn’t seen us do before and we picked a couple weak spots that we tried to expose, and I was really happy,” Kreutzkamp said.

    When asked about the difference between winning and losing, Kreutzkamp said down the stretch it came down to execution.

    “In one goal games you can point to half a dozen things either way,” Kreutzkamp said. “The one thing I had to point out was just finishing our shots. When you only score six goals, it’s hard to win a game.”

             Loyola were just able to maintain the one goal gap down the stretch to take the 7-6 victory.

    The Tritons graduate five senior starters: Kirsten Bates, Katherine Biehle, Natalie Peng, Allie Taylor and Jessica Tran.

             Despite the obvious gaps left by the 2012 class, Kreutzkamp is confident about next season and the strength of this season’s performance.

             “I think this is one of our best seasons ever,” Kreutzkamp said. “I understand that we won last year, but we won more games this year, we’re in the conference championship game for the third year in a row. This is a team that’s going in the right direction, and I’m really proud of it.”

            

     GAME 1

             The Tritons went down early, with the Seawolves taking an early 2-0 lead. With three minutes remaining in the quarter, UCSD countered to cut the lead down to one, off a quick goal from seniors Katherine Biehle and a backhand from Kirsten Bates. Down 2-3, the Tritons drew an exclusion, prompting UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp to call for the timeout. Coming out of the break, the Tritons set up sophomore Sarah Lizotte for a last-second goal to tie the game. The goal marked Lizotte’s 85th of the season, setting the record for the most single season goals.

             “[SSU] is scrappy and they have a lot of talent. If we don’t come out ready to go, they’ll jump out on us, which they did,” Kreutzkamp said. “A lot of times it’s first-game jitters and we just have to get over them and stay the course.”

             The Tritons turned it around in the second quarter, as senior Jessica Tran gave the Tritons the lead on a shot that skimmed under the reach of Sonoma keeper Ariel Lockshaw. UCSD picked up two more goals to take a 6-3 lead. UCSD goalkeeper, senior Allie Taylor kept  the Seawolves scoreless in the third period. The
    senior would tally nine saves in the campaign, as the Tritons outscored Sonoma 5-3 in the fourth quarter.

             “I’m proud of our gals,” Kreutzkamp said. “[We] knew all week long that this was going to be a big test. Sonoma was going to come in here and not lay down for anybody.”

             From there, UCSD advanced to the semifinal bout against CSU Monterey Bay.

             Kreutzkamp showed concern for the Tritons’ match against the sixth-seeded Otters, as UCSD took a narrow 12-8 win against CSU Monterey Bay last week, April 14.

             “Monterey Bay plays a system you don’t see every day, but we squeaked out a win over them a couple weeks ago. I’ve got some homework to do on them tonight for sure,” Kreutzkamp said.

            

     GAME 2

    Kreutzkamp’s concern proved warranted, as the Tritons again fell behind in the opening period.

             UCSD had no response for the Otters’ senior attacker Nikki Smart, who logged a first period hat-trick to put Monterey Bay up 4-1, before Lizotte sunk one to bridge the deficit 2-4 before the end of the period.

             “We needed to put the ball on-cage,”Kreutzkamp said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “Being down 4-1, we actually [had] to score goals to get back in the game. I was actually really proud of our defense, because through the second and third quarters we only gave up one goal, which allowed us to chip back in. If [CSU Monterey Bay] keep scoring goals on us there, it’s hard to make a comeback.”

             The Tritons kept the Otters at bay in the second period, tying the game 4-4 off goals from Bates and Bartow.


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