The Seattle Pacific women's soccer team has reached great heights in the five years since its inception. The Falcons will go into the 2006...

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WICHITA FALLS, Texas — The Seattle Pacific women’s soccer team has reached great heights in the five years since its inception. The Falcons will go into the 2006 season with a 60-game regular-season winning streak and as the four-time defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion.

But Seattle Pacific will have to wait another year to claim its first national championship.

Nebraska-Omaha’s Brandie Beale scored 3:03 into overtime to give the Mavericks a 2-1 win and the Division II national title Saturday afternoon at the Midwestern State Soccer Field.

“It was an amazing season,” Seattle Pacific coach Chuck Sekyra said. “You’re talking about a program in its fifth year losing 2-1 in overtime to a team that’s been here three times [before]. I’m so proud of this group. We lost to a really good team.”

The loss snapped the Falcons’ 24-game overall unbeaten streak and gave Nebraska-Omaha (20-2) its first title in four consecutive Final Four appearances. Seattle Pacific closed the season at 20-1-4.

“When we got the big second-place trophy, it was real hard to smile,” Seattle Pacific senior Shannon Lovejoy said. “But thinking about the team, second place is not bad. It was a great career and a great season. I wish we could have won because I think we all deserved it.”

Beale took Amber Richardson’s pass off of a throw-in, spun to her right and blasted a shot from the top of the box into the upper net.

“I never expected her to turn that quickly. That was my mistake,” SPU defender Carolyn Nason said.

“I just turned to the inside because I felt her on the outside,” Beale said. “I just shot and [it] just happened to go in.”

Seattle Pacific grabbed an early advantage when Sarah Martinez collected a through ball and served a pass to Megan Lienhard on the right wing for a 1-0 lead 7:24 into the match.

The winds shifted out of the north minutes later, putting it in the faces of the Falcons.

“We try to attack and progress the ball, which we’re very good at,” Sekyra said. “Some of our ideas could not be executed because of the wind, and it took some time to get used to it.”

The Mavericks tied the score just three minutes after Lienhard’s goal. Richardson collected a rebound just outside the box and blasted a shot that glanced off of SPU goalkeeper Jennifer Burns’ hands, the crossbar and into the net.

“The ball just happened to bounce out. I took a touch and shot and got lucky,” Richardson said.

The Falcons took the wind in the second half, but were unable to get their offense into the flow of the game. The Mavericks limited SPU to 10 shots for the game

The Falcons threatened to score on a few occasions, but couldn’t solve Nebraska-Omaha goalkeeper Amy Price.

Price punched Shannon Oakes’ blast from 25 yards over the crossbar in the 56th minute, and made a leaping grab of Nason’s bid from the left wing in the 83rd minute.

“It’s hard to get this close and not get it, but I know my team played well enough to win today,” Sekyra said. “You have to take your hats off to Nebraska-Omaha. That team works hard.”


• SPU defenders Meredith Teague and Michelle Everson were named to the NCAA Division II all-tournament team.

Scoring — 1, SPU, Lienhard (Martinez) 7:24; 2, UNO, Richardson (unassisted) 9:52; 3, UNO, Beale (Richardson, Wegehaupt) 93:03. Shots — UNO 22, SPU 10. Saves — UNO (Price) 5, SPU (Burns) 4. Corner kicks — UNO 5, SPU 8. Fouls — UNO 9, SPU 12. Offside — UNO 3, SPU 7. Cautions — Pile, UNO, 3:10. A — 604.