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Soccer Advances to NCAA Second Round in Shootout

Courtesy: Lindsay Lew, Associate SID
Release: November 12, 2005
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Captain Ashlie Mihalcin buried the gamewinning PK in the shootout.   By CUBuffs.com
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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 Denver tournament gave our kids confidence.  You schedule opponents and events that will hopefully give us experience later on in the season and postseason.   Everything you do is a test. We learned from our early challenges in the year.  We’re confident in the kids and they’re confident in themselves.”


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 Colorado with seven shots, followed by Katie Griffin’s five, but CU’s pair up top were thwarted each time.  UCR managed just two shots, just one of them on goal in regular time.


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 Wyoming in the same tournament in the same scenario.  Both games counted officially as ties, as does Friday night’s result.


Senior Fran Munnelly stepped up to the spot first and buried her shot in the left side, and was matched by UCR’s Linda Allen in the lower left.  Katie Griffin stepped up and hit hers in right, and Renee Scachetti tied it at 2-2 with her shot to the right side.  Allison Kidd went upper left to make it 3-2 to Colorado.


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 Colorado won 4-3.

“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.”


Colorado will face No. 1 seed and host team UCLA at Drake Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. MST.  The game will cybercast live on the UCLA website with live stats and audio.  The two teams met earlier in the season and the Bruins beat the Buffs 2-0.

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