Nov. 2, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -
The Wyoming Cowgirl soccer team (11-5-4 overall, 3-1-2 Mountain West) won their first-ever postseason tournament game in a 2-1 double-overtime victory, defeating the TCU Horned Frogs (7-11-1 overall, 1-5 MW). Cowgirl Liz O'Reilly scored the game-winning goal for UW in the 102nd minute. The Cowgirls advance to the second round of the MW Championship to take on the San Diego State Aztecs.
"We are very pleased to advance," Cowgirl head coach Danny Sanchez said. "Wyoming had never won a postseason game before this and that is one less talking point for us now. I am really proud of how we gutted this out today."
The Horned Frogs started the game as the aggressor taking three shots in the first 18 minutes. TCU's Jordan Calhoon and Shelby Campbell put two of those early shots on goal, but Cowgirl keeper Courtney Merkle made the play keeping both shots out. The Cowgirls answered the early TCU pressure with a goal on their first shot of the game in the 19th minute. After a collision involving TCU keeper Alicen Wright in the goal box, Sara Paul gathered the loose ball and kicked it into the back of the Frog net for UW's first goal of the day and Paul's eighth of the season. On the counter attack TCU Brooke Kviz took a shot that sailed wide of the UW net. Cowgirl Jenny Johnson took a shot one minute later that went wide of the TCU net. Five minutes later Paul put UW's next shot on frame with Wright making the play keeping the ball out. In the 30th minute, TCU's Natalie Werner put in the equalizing goal for the Frogs. After a clearance off a TCU free kick. Werner took a shot from 15 yards out that went past Merkle, tying the game at one goal apiece. TCU kept the pressure on putting two more shots on goal in the next four minutes, but Merkle had the answer keeping both out. At halftime the Cowgirls and the Horned Frogs remained tied 1-1.
"Lucie (McDowell) put in a great service and it was a great effort by Kayla to keep the ball alive and Sara tucked it away very nicely," Sanchez said about the Paul goal.
The second half started with both teams applying pressure on each other's goal. Cowgirl Kayla Davis took the first shot for UW in the 48th minute with the ball sailing wide of the TCU net. TCU's Alex Mechalske put the Horned Frogs first shot of the half on goal, forcing Merkle to make a save. O'Reilly put UW's first shot on goal one minute after the Mechalske shot, but Wright made the save for the Frogs. In the 61st minute Cowgirls Paul and McDowell took two shots with one blocked by the TCU defense and the other saved by Wright. Ashyln Mazur and Allison Masumiya took UW's next shots in the 65th and 66th minutes. Mazur put her head to the ball, but it sailed high of the TCU net and Masumiya's shot was blocked by the Frog defense. The Cowgirls did not allow another shot until the 73rd minute when TCU's Calhoon put a shot on frame that was saved by Merkle. The final two shots of the half came from UW's Paul who put them both on frame with Wright saving them both. Paul's shots in the 80th minute were the last two shots of the second half for either side and the 90-minute regulation ended with UW and TCU tied at one goal each. The regulation tie forced sudden death overtime.
In the first overtime period, the Horned Frogs took two shots to the Cowgirls' one. In the 94th minute, McDowell took a shot from the top of the TCU box, but the ball sailed high of the Frog net. TCU's Kristen Halverson and Natalie Werner put two shots on goal that forced Merkle to make two game-saving plays. The first overtime period ended with the teams still tied at 1-1.
The second overtime period featured the dramatic finish between UW and TCU. McDowell took UW's first shot just 36 seconds (101st minute) in, but again the ball went wide of the TCU net. Less than one minute later after a quick throw-in by Davis, O'Reilly received the ball and made an excellent move past the TCU defense, booting the ball low and past the outstretched hand of Wright giving the Cowgirls the dramatic 2-1 victory.
"On the throw-in, Kayla made a very heads up play getting the ball in quickly to Liz," Sanchez said. "Liz made a great individual effort and scored a great goal. I think that in sudden-death overtimes that is what it takes to win the game is one great individual effort and Liz showed that."
The Cowgirls outshot the Frogs 14-13, but lost the shots on goal battle, 7-9. One day after being named MW Freshman of the Year, Paul scored her eighth goal of the season. O'Reilly scored her fourth goal of the season and her second game-winning goal. Merkle had another excellent day in the UW goal making eight saves, including two game-saving plays in the first overtime period. The victory is Wyoming soccer's first ever in the postseason. The victory also brings their win total to 11 games, which is an all-time single season high for the Cowgirls.
Wyoming soccer now moves into the second round of the MW Championship on Friday, Nov. 4. UW will take on San Diego State with kickoff set for noon MT.
"We are very excited for Friday," Sanchez added. "San Diego State is a very talented team and they will be well rested. We are really looking forward to seeing if we can't mount a monumental effort against the San Diego (State)."