Hailey Marsh scored a goal in regulation against San Diego State in the MWC Championship game.
Nov. 6, 2004
PROVO, Utah - The defending conference champions and No. 4-seeded Utah Utes (13-5-3) got past No. 3-seeded San Diego State (8-7-6) in a 4-3 shootout victory in the 2004 Mountain West Conference Soccer Championships today held at BYU's South Stadium. The game was tied 1-1 after two overtime periods, foring the game to penalty kicks. Utah ia the lowest seeded team to ever win the MWC soccer championship.
This victory marks the Utes' second league tournament championship. With the win, Utah earns an automatic bid into the 2004 NCAA Women's College Cup.
"I'm really just proud of the players and the coaches and everyone involved with the team just for hanging in there," said head coach Rich Manning. "This season has definitely been a character test for us. We've established a standard for our team, going to the playoffs three years in a row. Being able to win the conference tournament and go to the NCAA Tournament in a year when it seems like things have been rolling against us is great for this team."
The game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation play, plus two 10-minute sudden death overtime periods. With the championship on the line in a shootout, Manning replaced starting goalkeeper Ashley Mason with Glennis Donnelly for the penalty kicks.
"We put Glennis in for the shootout, primarily because of her athleticism," remarked Manning. "You never know how your opponent is going to respond to the pressure, but the shooters for San Diego State did well."
San Diego States' Amanda Swiader began the shootout, scoring one past Donnelly to take the early lead. Mason surprisingly took the first kick for the Utes and blasted one past SDSU's star goalkeeper Sophia Perez to tie the match. SDSU scored the following kick and Perez made a great save on Ute Emily Campbell's kick to give SDSU the 2-1 advantage. SDSU's Ashley Cooper fired her shot well over the net, giving freshman Kiley Jones the opportunity to tie the game. And that she did, making the shootout 2-2.
"This is a really exciting feeling," said Pruitt. "I feel really confident about our team and our chances in the NCAA Tournament."
"That goal really felt good," added Marsh. "When I came out to shoot, I tried to make a conscious effort to put it in the corner. I tried not to think about the shot too much, because I knew Erin still had to score. It was great to be out on the field and help our team win the game. This win gives our team a lot of confidence going into the NCAA's."
Prior to the shootout, Utah and SDSU played a physical, grueling game. SDSU came out early with a high pressuring offense, which tested the Utes' defensive backfield. The Aztecs offensive energy seemed to subside midway through the game and the Utes took advantage.
At the 47:12 mark in the second half, Campbell made a great connection from the left corner of the field to Marsh, who found the back of the net to put Utah up 1-0. Marsh didn't play the entire first-half, but came in and gave the Utes the energy they needed to score.
But the lead didn't last long as the Aztecs answered right back with goal from freshman Tiphanie Elliott, which marked her second goal of the tournament.
"Hailey's goal was terrific," said Manning. "It was a great cross and she did a great job heading it in. I really thought the team was tiring after the goal and I thought we had the momentum to take control of the game. Unfortunately, they earned a goal and we had to go to the shootout."
"I came in the game with a lot of energy and Emily played a good game and I headed it in," remarked Marsh.
The score would remain tied for the rest of the afternoon as both teams failed to score on numerous scoring opportunities. Utah outshot SDSU 14-7 and the Utes had a 5-0 edge in corner kicks. Mason played all 110 minutes of regulation and overtime and recorded four saves, while Perez made seven stops
"I think we are really ready of the NCAA Tournament," said Mason. "We are going to give a game to whoever we play. We are really excited."
In addition to the victory, Utah picked up a few more accolades. Utah's Lauren Field was awared with the Sportsmanship Award. Also making the all-tournament team for Utah were Jones, Marsh, Tracy Stratton Garner and Amanda Feigt.
Utah will find out its draw for the 2004 NCAA Soccer Championship when the bracket is announced on Monday afternoon. First round games begin on Friday at on-campus sites.
2004 Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer Championship
Player, School Kiley Jones, M, Fr., Utah Tracy Stratton Garner, M, Sr., Utah Alexis Solovij, D, Jr., SDSU Amanda Swiader, D, Jr., SDSU Hailey Marsh, M, So., Utah Elaine Tatarek, F, Sr., Air Force Raegan McDowell, F, Jr., Air Force Jaime Rendich, F, Jr., BYU Noelle Jouglet, D, Sr., SDSU Amanda Feigt, F, So., Utah Goalkeeper - Sophia Perez, Sr., SDSU MVP - Sophia Perez, GK, Sr., SDSU Sportsmanship Award - Lauren Field, F, Sr., Utah