San Antonio - After playing to a 1-1 tie through two overtime periods in the opening game of the NCAA Playoffs, Trinity's top-ranked women's soccer team advanced with a 4-3 shootout victory over #9 University of Texas-Tyler on Friday evening.
Both teams netted first-half goals in the First Round postseason matchup, and that score held through regulation, and both overtime sessions. The game went to penalty kicks to decide which team would move on to the next round.
In the shootout, both teams made the first round of PK's, but UT-Tyler's second attempt was high, glancing off the cross bar and over the net. That gave Trinity the advantage, and the Tigers converted each of the next two shots to take a 3-2 lead after three rounds.
After Tyler converted in round four, Trinity missed its fourth attempt, as Hanna Fischer was able to save Kim Polasek's penalty shot, and the teams were tied 3-3 in the shootout. In the fifth round, it was Tiger goalkeeper Janie Thompson's turn for the heroics, as she dove to her right to record the save. Meredith Licata wasted little time with her attempt, nailing her penalty to lift the Tigers into the second round of the playoffs.
"To me, it was an exceptionally played game," marveled Trinity Head Coach Lance Key. "Two fantastics teams. I have a lot of respect for Stefani (Tyler Head Coach Stefani Webb) and what she's done with that side. They have a class of seniors that are on their way out that have been a coach's nightmare, mainly mine, for four straight years. I've been trying to solve that puzzle, and again tonight they were fantastic. We played 220 minutes here, on this field against that team, and we needed penalties to find the first winner."
Julia Camp scored her 14th goal of the season to break up a scoreless tie in the 29th minute of play, converting on Colleen Markey's cross. It was the 10th assist of the year for Markey. Tyler tied things up a few minutes later, as Morgan Monzingo took advantage of a defensive miscue in the 34th minute.
That would prove to be the final goal of the game for either team, though it wasn't for a lack of trying. Trinity hammered out 13 second-half shots, as well as producing three shots in each overtime period. Tyler recorded six saves after the intermission, including two in the second overtime.
"We played our tails off," continued Coach Key. "My girls were excellent. I think in terms of the first half, Tyler did a great job of finding a little bit of separation, especially at midfield, and that caused us some problems. we had to make some adjustments. I thought the second half we did a much better job. They were still able to find some things, but that's what good teams do. I thought going into overtime we were able to control the flow of it. But, we weren't able to find the game-winner. Goals are hard to score in the tournament. Whether teams have scored a 100 goals or 30 goals throughout the course of the season, come tournament time, they are hard to come by. Tonight was a great example of that. I think it was two exceptional teams, and both played their hearts out. My hat's off to Stefanie and to her side, and all of her players.
Thompson was in goal for the entire 110 minutes for the Tigers, as well as the shootout. Tyler had to replace starter Emily Hurley following the goal by Trinity, as she was injured during the sequence. She intially saved a Tiger shot with an awkward dive that resulted in both a save and an injury. It was only seconds later when Markey found Camp for the goal. Hanna Fischer played the final 80+ minutes in goal for the Patriots.
"I just think it's a travesty to have two of the top 10 teams in the country playing each other in the first round," concluded Coach Key. "You have one of the top 10 teams in the country going out in the first round on penalties. I know there are parameters and guidelines that have to be followed, but as a collegiate sport, I think something has to be done to ensure that these types of things don't happen again. Any coach across the country would think it's terrible...that team shouldn't be out this soon. At the same time, I couldn't be more proud of my kids, for the fight they put in. In addition to that, what a crowd. What tremendous support from our fan base here. That's a huge advantage to be able to host. I recognize that, and I recognize the NCAA gave us the opportunity, and I'm grateful for that."
Trinity is now 19-0-2 on the year. These two teams played to a 1-1 tie in September. UT-Tyler is now 16-1-2 on the year, with the only defeat coming at the hands of Hardin-Simmons in the American Southwest Conference Championship game. The Tigers move on to face Hardin-Simmons in the Second Round of the NCAA Playoffs, after Hardin-Simmons defeated UC-Santa Cruz 3-1 in the second game at Trinity University tonight.