Kelly Isleib had three shots on goal for the Utes against UNLV.
Nov. 4, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - For the first time in three MWC Women's Soccer Tournament championship game appearances, Utah didn't come away with the trophy.
The top seeded Utes and No. 3 seeded Rebels played to a 0-0 tie through two overtime periods Saturday with UNLV winning the battle of penalty kicks 6-5 at Ute Field. The tournament ended with a shootout for only the second time in MWC Championship history.
Both teams converted all five shots through the initial series of penalty kicks. Then Utah's Melissa Crespo sent her attempt high to begin the sixth series, allowing UNLV's Armani Rice the opportunity to convert her kick for the win.
It was the first time this year a Mountain West team held the 10th-ranked Utes scoreless. The Utes had won all seven of their regular season MWC games via shutout, and defeated New Mexico 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals on Thursday.
"It's not all luck but you definitely need it on your side," said UNLV Head Coach Katherine Mertz. "I've been a part of the players winning PKs and a part of the coaches losing PKs, it's a tough way to get out but I'm proud of the girls. They stayed mentally focused in front of the crowd, knowing what was on their shoulders."
Ute keeper Ashley Mason made four saves on the day as the Utes outshot the Rebels, 21-8. UNLV goalkeeper Alicia Lugo was perfect in net, stopping all 11 of Utah's scoring opportunities.
"At the end of the day I don't think we played our best game," said Utah Head Coach Rich Manning. "It is very disappointing."
The Utes controlled the first half of the game, keeping possession for the majority of the half while holding a 7-3 advantage on shots. Despite Utah holding an 8-3 edge in shots in the second half, the Rebels were more active and disrupted the Utah offense enough to keep the Utes from scoring.
Utah then nearly scored an own goal near the end of the second half. Kiley Jones attempted to clear a cross from Jessica Destito, but her kick went back towards her own goal. Mason recovered just in time to tip the ball over the cross bar and keep the game scoreless.
Utah and Utah both had a few good looks at the frame in the first overtime, with Utah getting three shots to two for UNLV. The Utes forced three more saves by Lugo in the second overtime.
The first four players for both teams all made their shots in the penalty kick shootout. Utah began the fifth round with Adele Letro seeing her PK blocked by Lugo, but it was ruled that Lugo moved early. Letro connected the second time around, then Taylor Fuentes placed her shot past Mason to tie the shootout at 5-5, sending it to the sixth round.
The overtime game marked the third-straight MWC Soccer Championship game in which extra time was needed to decide a winner. Last year, UNLV and New Mexico played into the 96th minute to decide a winner, with UNLV advancing to the NCAA Tournament. Utah won a shootout over San Diego State in 2003.
The NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced on Monday at 1 p.m. MT on ESPNNews.
Teams 1 2 OT 2OT Shootout #1 Utah 0 0 0 0 5 #3 UNLV 0 0 0 0 6
All-Tournament Team Ashley Lowery, Sr., D, New Mexico Amanda Lathrop, So., M, Wyoming Natalie Nate, Jr., MF, BYU Jessica Gordon, Fr., F, San Diego State McKenzie Joyner, Sr., D, Utah Ashley Mason, Sr., GK, Utah Melissa Wayman, Sr., D, Utah Tanya Roberts, Sr., MF, UNLV Brie Kuhne, R-So., D, UNLV Alicia Lugo, Fr., GK, UNLV Katie Carney, So., F, UNLV
MVP Tanya Roberts, Sr., MF, UNLV