W. Soccer Beats Wyoming in OT, Claims MW Tourney Title
Nov. 8, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
Katie Perry's goal in the 96th minute lifted top-seeded San Diego State to a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 2 seed Wyoming. The result secured the Aztecs' third consecutive Mountain West tournament title and sends them to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row.
"I'm really proud of the team and the effort to get a win in overtime," head coach Mike Friesen said. "I thought we played really well tonight in terms of possession and creating chances. Wyoming did a good job of defending. It was pretty sweet when Katie scored that goal. To celebrate with our fans, I think that's one of the fun parts of hosting the championship is to do it in front of our fans. It was a great, great win, but we're not done. We're looking forward to seeing where we're headed on Monday."
The winning sequence started when Wyoming could not clear the ball past the midfield line. The ball ended up with Kelsey Booth, who headed the ball straight up in the air to Morgan Darling. The sophomore then took two dribbles and fed a pass back to Perry, who sent a low laser from the top of the box into the left corner past the diving Wyoming goalkeeper Alex Boehm.
The game-winning goal was Perry's team-leading third of the year and her sixth goal overall. Darling's assist, meanwhile, was her third of the season.
The game required overtime after 90 minutes of scoreless action despite numerous opportunities by San Diego State. In the first half, the Aztecs enjoyed a handful of chances, but none better than in the 37th minute when Perry's hard shot caromed off the right post. The story of the frame could be found in the box score at halftime as SDSU outshot the Cowgirls, 10-4, and blanked them in corner kicks, 5-0.
Coming out of the locker room, it was more of the same from San Diego State as it continued to create scoring opportunities. On three different occasions, Boehm was forced come out from between the pipes to knock away a loose ball, but the Aztecs could not take advantage of the scrambling keeper to move ahead.
Then in the final minutes of the second half, Wyoming started to make a run at SDSU, but its defense was able to clear the ball nearly each time. The one time it didn't, which came off a misguided header, led to a footrace between a Cowgirl and Aztec goalkeeper Melanie Vaughn with mere seconds left on the clock. The junior keeper eventually got to the ball first and the contest moved into OT leading to Perry's goal.
SDSU finished with a 23-8 advantage in shots and a 10-0 edge in corner kicks for the game. Hannah Keane, who was just off the mark on many of her attempts, took a game-high six shots, while fellow senior Booth was credited with five. Perry played the full 96 minutes in the midfield and had four shots.
At the end of the Championship, Perry, Vaughn, defender Ashley Hauke and forward Haley Locker were named to the all-tournament squad. The MVP of the three-day tourney was Perry, who became the fifth Aztec in school history to earn the award.
San Diego State's third straight tournament title is the second-longest streak in Mountain West history, second only to BYU's four-year run in the first four years of the league's existence (1999-2002). The Aztecs' string of three consecutive seasons of claiming both the regular-season and tournament crowns also ranks second to the Cougars' run from 1999-2002.
As a program, the title represents SDSU's eighth Mountain West championship and the fourth of the tournament variety, all of which have come under Friesen's watch (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014). Overall, the Aztecs, who improved to 4-1-1 in MW title games, have now won a total of 10 conference titles.
San Diego State will now await word on who it will face in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The selection show is set for Monday at 1:30 p.m. PT and it will stream live on NCAA.com.