LOS ANGELES – The University of Colorado women’s soccer team outplayed UC Riverside for 110 minutes but couldn’t find the net through two overtimes. They found a way to win the match anyways on a clutch penalty kick from senior captain Ashlie Mihalcin in a shootout to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the the second time in school history.
“I think we deserved to win in regular time, however we were forced to do it in penalty kicks,” said CU head coach Bill Hempen. “I think our experience early in the season at the
The Buffaloes outshot the Highlanders 20 to two and put eight of those on net but couldn’t get it past UCR goalkeeper Tawny Poggio. Allison Kidd led
The game was marred by highly physical play from UCR, with Griffin and Fran Munnelly bearing the brunt of the majority of the contact. Both Fran and Laura Munnelly had to come off from injuries, with Laura missing game time for the first time this season when she sat out the first overtime. The Highlanders were whistled for 28 fouls, 14 alone in the second half, to Colorado's 10 total. UCR also had four players booked with yellow cards.
“It was frustrating having outplayed them and with as many shots as we had and not being able to finish,” said Mihalcin. “But I had a feeling the whole time that we were going to win. I knew it was going to take that last effort to get it in the goal. That didn’t come until the penalty kicks. Bill said in the huddle that we had prepared for this at the beginning of the season in the DU tournament when we did p.k.’s twice.”
This marked the first time in NCAA play that Buffs had to go to a shootout, but it was not the first time this season. CU had two opportunities to try a shootout earlier in the year, at the Denver Soccer Classic. CU defeated DU on penalties to advance to the final of their tournament, while falling to
Then it was CU keeper Kirstin Radlinski’s tough save on a shot from Amber Plumlee that gave CU a shot in the arm. Plumlee shot the ball to Radlinski’s right, and the freshman guessed right and made a fantastic save to give CU the lead 3-2 after three shots. It was a shortlived lead as Darci Smerchek missed wide right off the post, on her next chance and the UCR’s Melina Triantos converted her shot to tie the shootout 3-3. It didn’t matter.
“Bill told Kirstin that we needed one save out of her,” said Munnelly. “We knew when she got her save that we were going to win.”
Then Mihalcin strode to the spot for CU’s final kick, and buried her shot in the upper right to give CU the 4-3 lead. It was then up to UCR to tie the game on their fifth kick, but Stacie Anderson pushed hers wide right of the goal, and
“Bill was asking who wanted to take the fifth kick, and Ashlie stepped up and had confidence that she would make it,” said Munnelly. “I knew the second she stepped up that she would make it. I really did.”