UC San Diego vs. Western Washington—La Jolla, CA
No. 3 UC San Diego Tritons add to their remarkable 2017 season claiming West Region Championship. Third ranked, UC San Diego women’s soccer team walked away Friday night with another piece of hardware in hand, as they defeated defending West Region and National Champion, No. 7 Western Washington 2–0.
With 558 in attendance at Triton Soccer Stadium, UCSD pulled off two stellar goals to secure the West Region title for the seventh time in program history.
The first half consisted of a back and forth, head-swiveling ball game full of top-tier competition from both teams. The Tritons controlled the pace within the first 45 minutes with what seemed like never-ending pressure on the offensive end.
At the 17:40 marker and still no activity across the scoreboard, UCSD junior forward Mary Reilly took a shot that struck the top of the cross bar, ricocheting straight down inches from the goal line. The referee ruled no goal on the controversial call.
With time winding down, junior forward Megumi Barber took matters into her own hands. Barber dribbled 20 yards past multiple defenders and nailed the back of the net sending the Tritons into halftime with a huge advantage. Barber’s third goal of the season and potentially one of the most important of her career came with 23 seconds remaining.
The game became more physical at the opening of the second half. Aware of what lay on the line, Western Washington refused to go down easily. However, the Vikings were no match for UCSD freshman goalkeeper Katie Wilkes, who tallied three clutch saves on the night.
Reilly sealed the deal at 82:53, flaunting her fancy footwork before booting the ball into the upper right target from yards outside the box.
UCSD closed the door with strong defense led by sophomore California Collegiate Athletics Association Defensive Player of the Year, Natalie Saddic. The Tritons have relied on a number of freshmen to step up in high-stakes situations who have done just that and more.