Los Angeles Soccer: John McFarlin
Amanda Hardeman's goal in the 88th minute couldn't save UC Irvine. It just delayed the pain.
The Anteaters twice rallied from deficits Friday night but fell short in the tiebreaker and were eliminated by visiting San Diego in the first round of the NCAA Division I women's tournament.
The Toreros (12-7-1) outfired UCI, 5-3, on penalties to advance to next weekend's second-round clash against the winner of Saturday night's game between No. 2 UCLA and New Mexico.
Irvine (14-4-3) was 90 seconds from defeat when Hardeman (Laguna Niguel/Dana Hills HS and Santiago Canyon College) struck from Dana Sanderlin's cross to force a 20-minute sudden-death overtime.
Mariah Butera scored in the fourth minute to provide a lead for San Diego, the West Coast Conference co-champion, and Taylor Housley restored the advantage late in the first half after the 23nd-minute header by Zoya Farzaneh (Irvine/Irvine HS), from Cami Privett's pass, pulled the Anteaters even.
The Toreros were in charge of the tiebreaker from the start, taking a 2-0 lead after goalkeeper Courtney Parsons stopped Judy Christopher (Ontario/Upland HS) on Irvine's first attempt. The next three Anteaters -- Sanderlin (Upland/Upland HS), CoCo Goodson and Zuri Walker -- converted their attempts, but San Diego made all five of its shots. Stephanie Ochs clinched the victory.
In other women's action:
- Azusa Pacific (13-2-2) won Golden State Athletic Conference tournament title, outfiring host Point Loma Nazarene, 4-2, on penalties following a scoreless tie in the final. APU, No. 5 in the NAIA rankings, converted on four of five attempts -- Natalie Sun's shot was decisive -- and goalkeeper Alexa Douglas made two stops to thwart the No. 4 Sea Lions (18-1-2).
IRVINE -- Long Beach State is returning to the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years after knocking off No. 24 UC Irvine in Sunday afternoon's Big West Conference women's tournament final.Jazz Strozier scored in the 13th minute and the 49ers (15-5-1) backed it up with an organized defense led by goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves and center back Alex Balcer, the tournament MVP.
It was the second straight year Long Beach State has won the title at Anteater Field after UCI captured the regular-season title.
“I thought it was a great day for Long Beach State,” head coach Mauricio Ingrassia said. “We came in with a game plan. We executed. ... [UC Irvine is] a very good team.
“We had to earn every inch that we got, but I think hats off to my team this year, because last year I told their coach I thought they were was the best team, when we shook hands, and I feel like this year we had the best team in the Big West.”
Strozier (Ventura/Buena HS and Ventura College) knocked home a corner kick from Loyola Marymount transfer Kelsey Wilson (San Clemente/San Clemente HS) that was first headed by Balcer and Shawna Gordon (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS). It ended a 435-minute shutout streak for the Anteaters, who had shut out their previous four and six of the previous seven foes.
Nadia Link (Rowland Heights/Walnut HS) nearly added to the lead seven minutes into the second half with a floater that Anteaters goalkeeper Jennifer Randazzo tipped onto the crossbar and away.
UCI (14-4-2), which is expected to receive an at-large berth when the 64-team field is unveiled Monday, nearly pulled even on a 60th-minute free kick by All-American CoCo Goodson, a blistering shot that slipped past the 49ers wall and required a diving save by Gustaves (Long Beach/Wilson HS).
Long Beach shifted from its customary 4-3-3 alignment to a 4-4-2 in the second half, with defender-turned-forward Nicole Hubbard (Lakewood/Mayfair HS) moving into midfield, then dropping deeper, right in front of the back four, in the closing minutes.
Farran (San Pedro/San Pedro HS) fired home with 97 seconds remaining in regulation after Katie Russ (Canyon Country/Canyon HS) headed along a throw-in from Chloe McDaniel (Palmdale/Quartz Hill HS).
Long Beach State (10-4-1) had won six in a row and led the Big West with a 3-0 mark, but the loss drops the 49ers one point behind the Matadors (5-7-2) and UC Irvine, which are 3-1-1. Long Beach visits Irvine on Sunday.
Northridge has won three of its last four games.
In other women's action:
- Elizabeth Eddy (Newport Beach/Newport Harbor HS) tallied in the fifth minute, and USC ended an eight-game losing streak and claimed its first Pacific 12 Conference victory in a 1-0 encounter at Washington. The Women of Troy (4-11-0), who are 1-5 in the Pac-12, benefited from solid defense backed up by freshman goalkeeper Carley Pennington (Rancho Cucamonga/St. Lucy's Priory HS), who got the shutout in her college debut.
- No. 6 UCLA (10-1-3) dictated play and ran up a 29-8 advantage in shots but couldn't find the net, and the scoreless draw at Washington State extended the Bruins' winless streak to three games. The Cougars (10-4-2) moved ahead of UCLA in the Pac-12 standings at 4-1-1. The Bruins are 3-1-2.