Finally First

    Historically, The UCSD Women’s Soccer team has performed poorly in penalty shootouts. In the past two seasons, the Tritons have been eliminated in the semifinal round by penalty kicks.

    This season, UCSD broke the curse of the semifinal stumbling block, sinking CSU Stanislaus 1-0 in the first round before beating No. 7 nationally ranked Sonoma State 4-2 in penalty kicks.

    It may have been the maturity of a team that’s been to the CCAA tournament four times in the past four seasons and the NCAA Division II Tournament twice, or the fact that the Tritons needed a conference title to assure a national tournament berth, but either way, No. 13 UCSD took the CCAA title over No. 7 Sonoma State in penalties.

    “It was a great feeling to finally win the CCAA tournament after coming up short for three years,” Wilson said. “Both games were battles, but I think we kept our composure and put in a lot of work and definitely deserved to come out on top.”

    The Tritons advanced to the title match after taking down CSU Stanislaus, a team that defeated UCSD 1-0 just two weeks prior.

    Yesterday, Nov. 4, senior forward Gabi Hernandez broke the 0-0 gridlock in the 24th second of the second half. Hernandez — named the CCAA Tournament MVP — sent a high, arching shot into the top corner to put UCSD up 1-0.

    From there the Tritons hunkered down to protect their narrow 1-0 lead. True freshman goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky registered an impressive nine saves, protecting the net from a Sonoma attack that recorded 27 shots to UCSD’s 11.

    The Triton backline, made up of all-CCAA selections Ellen Wilson and Hayley Johnson, did well to shut down one of the most dangerous offenses in the conference for 44 minutes. In the last 45 seconds of the match, Seawolf forward Margi Osmundson found her way into the UCSD goal box, lifting a shot over Brodsky to send the game into overtime.

    Spent from 90 minutes of play, neither team seemed to seriously consider a golden goal victory, with both UCSD and Sonoma State registering just two shots in the second overtime period.

    Both teams began the shootout with two solid finishes. Hernandez finished her penalty to give UCSD a brief 2-1 lead, which held through the next three opportunities, all missed. Wilson and Johnson both finished their chances to lift the Tritons to the win.

    “This is what UCSD soccer is all about and I’m so happy to finally win the CCAA Tournament,” Johnson said. “We’ve been working hard and starting to play really well and are all honored to join the best teams that have come through the program as league champions.”

    With the conference title, the Tritons earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Championship. The NCAA Selection Show, where the NCAA seedings will be announced, is scheduled for today at 4:30 p.m., available to be streamed live at NCAA.com. UCSD will be making its 12th appearance in their 13 years since moving to Division II.

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