In the first half, the Seattle Pacific women's soccer team looked outpaced, a step behind and lacking possession of the ball. Things went much differently...
In the first half, the Seattle Pacific women’s soccer team looked outpaced, a step behind and lacking possession of the ball.
Things went much differently for the Falcons in the second half of Saturday afternoon’s NCAA Division II Far West Regional championship at Interbay Stadium.
Freshman defender Meredith Teague’s 35-yard cross turned into a score in the 51st minute and got things rolling for second-ranked Seattle Pacific. The Falcons put up two second-half goals in less than two minutes for a 2-0 win over 13th-ranked UC San Diego to move into the national quarterfinals.
SPU sophomore forward Sarah Martinez added an insurance tally from 16 yards out in the 53rd minute.
But it was Teague’s spinning lucky strike — a misplayed high bounce through the hands of the Tritons’ freshman goalkeeper, Mia Shirley, at the right post — that turned the tide after the Falcons were thoroughly outplayed in the first half. Shirley was busy making sure she didn’t step over the goal line while attempting to secure the ball and it resulted in the misplay.
“I’d like to say I meant to [score], but it was actually meant to be a cross,” Teague said. “I think we went into halftime knowing that we could do better. We didn’t want it to be our last half.”
The Falcons (19-0-3) remained unbeaten and advanced to the quarterfinals of the national tournament and will host either top-ranked and defending NCAA Division II champion Metro State (22-0) or Regis (18-5) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Interbay.
UC San Diego finished the season 18-4-0, dropping the first meeting between the two schools.
The Falcons’ fifth-year program earned its first NCAA Division II playoff victory in four tries by downing Chico State 1-0 in double overtime Thursday.
SPU, 38-1-5 combined in the past two seasons, had never made it past the second round in the national tournament in two previous tries.
“I really believe in the first half, we’d never had a team possess the ball and run at us like that before,” said third-year SPU coach Chuck Sekyra. “That caused us to lose confidence. They had the ball and that was bothersome to us.
“But our team is resilient. We came out and executed in the second half. It was as much heart and effort.”
SPU 2, Sonoma St. 0
CARSON, Calif. — Colin Rigby and Jeff Hallenbeck each scored for the Falcons, who beat Sonoma St. in a Division II Far West Region first-round game at Toro Stadium. It was SPU’s first playoff win since 1998.
SPU (15-2-3), which recorded its sixth straight win, advanced to the regional title game Monday at 1 p.m., where the Falcons will meet host Cal State Dominguez Hills.
“We have a long history and we know them,” said SPU coach Cliff McCrath. “In playoff soccer, every game is a new mountain, and as Dominguez Hills is the top seed, this is the highest mountain in the West.”
Rigby, a junior, headed in the Falcons’ first goal in the 31st minute. Hallenbeck, a sophomore, got an insurance goal in the 83rd minute.
The Seawolves (12-9-2) fell to 1-14 all-time against Seattle Pacific.
Moments after coming off the bench, James Coggan set up the opening goal. On the end of a counterattack, a cross from Coggan found the head of Rigby for his fourth goal of the year.
SPU goalkeeper Kellen Rosten stopped a breakaway by Nathan Medina in the 79th minute, and three minutes later Hallenbeck sealed the victory. Nick Letts threaded a through ball for Hallenbeck to run onto and score with a 6-yard blast. It was his fifth goal in as many games and seventh overall.
Local college women’s summaries
NCAA Division II
Far West Regional championship
SEATTLE PACIFIC 2, UC SAN DIEGO 0
|UC San Diego||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle Pacific||0 2 — 2|
Martinez (Megan Lienhard) 53:00. UC San Diego: None. Shots — UCSD 12, SPU 9. Saves — UCSD (Mia Shirley) 5, SPU (Jennifer Burns) 3. Fouls — UCSD 8, SPU 6. Corner kicks — UCSD 5, SPU 3. Cautions — UCSD (None), SPU (None). Ejections — UCSD (None), SPU (None). A — 465.
NCAA Division III Tournament
PUGET SOUND 3, MARYSVILLE (Tenn.) 0
Scoring — 1, UPS, Kjar (Folsom), 29:17; 2, UPS, Gornick (unassisted), 47:56; 3, UPS, Kjar (Levien, Pitman), 84:35.
Local college men’s summaries
WHITWORTH 4, REDLANDS 0
Scoring — 1, WHTW, Johnson (Carlson), 21:04; 2, WHTW, Varlamos (Carlson), 31:44; 3, WHTW, Friesen (unassisted), 37:39; 4, 60:17, WHTW, Johnson (Hendrickson), 37:39.
SAN FRANCISCO 2, GONZAGA 0
Scoring — 1, USF, Languis (Chandler), 11:41; 2, USF, Bagheri (Chandler), 18:12.
NCAA Division II
Far West Regional
SEATTLE PACIFIC 2, SONOMA STATE 0
Scoring — 1, SPU, Rigby (Coggan) 30:10; 2, SPU, Hallenbeck (Letts) 82:31.