Reno, Nev. - A goal with just eight seconds remaining in the second overtime period dropped the San Jose State University women’s soccer team to a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to top-seeded Fresno State in the semifinals of the 2006 Western Athletic Conference Tournament under cold and rainy conditions at Mackay Stadium on Friday, November 3.
Just eight seconds away from a penalty kick tiebreaker, Andrea Salvador’s cross from the right was met by Antonea Lugo at the far post, with Lugo finding the back of the net for her team-leading sixth goal of 2006.
The fourth-seeded Spartans were playing their second overtime contest in as many days. In Thursday’s tournament opener, San Jose State advanced past fifth-seeded Boise State, 4-2 on penalty kicks, after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer through regulation and two overtimes.
Fresno State (13-5-2), the defending tournament champion, moves on to Sunday’s championship game at 1:00 p.m. against the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between second-seeded Utah State and third-seeded host Nevada. San Jose State concludes the 2006 season at 7-11-3.
“From top to bottom, we were so ready to play this game,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Siracusa. “We had a viable gameplan, and the girls executed incredibly. We played 219 minutes within a 24-hour period, and our soccer was great, as well as our fitness. The girls’ character was exemplary. It was the cruelest of defeats.”
Fresno State looked more the aggressor over the opening 15 minutes, registering the first four shots of the game and a corner kick, but none of the four attempts were on target.
The next 15 minutes belonged to San Jose State, as the Spartans produced the only three shots on target of the entire frame among five shots in all, and a corner kick of their own. In the 18th minute, Cristin Murphy’s left-footed effort from just outside the penalty box was saved by Bulldog goalkeeper Angie Larsen. Five minutes later, the Spartans earned their first corner of the afternoon, and Jessica Scott’s kick was headed by Jackie Zabek at the far post, only for Larsen to make the stop. Heather Oranje’s long-range shot from head-on skipped to Larsen shortly after that.
In the 27th minute, Liz Behlen collected the ball on the left flank, but her low shot on the slick turf went narrowly wide to the right past the diving Larsen.
At the conclusion of the first half, shots and corner kicks were even at six and one apiece, respectively, with SJSU holding a 3-0 advantage in attempts on goal.
Fresno State’s first shot on goal of the afternoon began the second half, as Amanda Reyes’ try from distance was caught by Spartan goalkeeper Marissa Dayton at the 47:51 mark. SJSU’s WAC “Offensive Player of the Year” Nicole Irwin and junior teammate Heidi Romswinckel-Guise followed that up over the next seven minutes with left-footed attempts from long-range that Larsen saved.
The Spartans created the best chance to score by either side to that point in the game with a beautiful combination play in the 67th minute. Hallsie Pacheco hit a cross from the left side toward the far post, where Scott headed it back across to the near side for Romswinckel-Guise, who’s low shot agonizingly skimmed the post and went wide right of the goal.
Over the remaining 20 minutes of regulation, Fresno State out-shot San Jose State, 5-2. Cortney Sobrero, had four of those five attempts for the Bulldogs, and the only one on frame, shooting from close to 25 yards out straight to Dayton’s lap with 12 seconds left on the clock. Scott provided both of the late tries for the Spartans, with one on goal.
San Jose State pressed for the game-winner in the first overtime, taking the only two shots of the period and producing the only corner kick. Midway through the frame, Murphy put a promising through ball into the Bulldog penalty area that ended up being just a touch fast for Behlen to reach, with Larsen getting to it first.
Dayton, the second-team All-WAC goalkeeper as a redshirt freshman, finished with two saves in the game, while first-team All-WAC honoree Larsen made six in earning her 14th shutout.
Murphy, and fellow senior tri-captains Nicole Martinez and Cynthia Pinkney, played in their final game as Spartans.
San Jose State (7-11-3) - 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fresno State (13-5-2) - 0 0 0 1 - 1
FS - Antoneo Lugo (6) (Andrea Salvador), 109:52
SJSU - 13
FS - 14
SJSU - 2 (Marissa Dayton-2)
FS - 6 (Angie Larsen-6)
SJSU - 2
FS - 3
SJSU - 11
FS - 12