LA JOLLA, Calif. - Jessica Wi's golden goal at 103:17 of double overtime pushed UC San Diego past Seattle Pacific, 2-1, in an NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship Second Round match at Triton Soccer Stadium on Saturday night.
The Tritons, ranked fifth in the country and seeded second in the West Regional, improved to 15-2-3. The third-seeded Falcons, who had knocked out No. 6 seed BYU-Hawaii through a 1-0 victory in La Jolla on Thursday afternoon, completed their season at 15-4-2.
UCSD now moves on to face either Sonoma State or Western Washington in the West Region final in either Austin, Texas, or Denver, Colo., next week. The NCAA's yearly rotation has the South Central Region hosting the West Region this year for a chance to advance to the NCAA Championship Semifinals in Evans, Ga. The highest remaining seeds in the South Central are No. 2 St. Edward's of Austin and No. 3 Metro State of Denver, who face off in the Second Round on Sunday in Austin.
Just over three minutes into the second of two 10-minute, sudden-victory overtime periods, Hayley Johnson lofted the last of her 12 corner kicks on the night from the right side that found its way through a crowd to the far post, where fellow senior Wi was able to place her effort delicately across the goal mouth and into the netting on the opposite side. It was Wi's fourth goal of the season and second of the game-winning variety, with both of those coming in double overtime.
Gabi Hernandez had opened the scoring in the 19th minute off another Johnson corner kick, going to ground to poke home from close range for her eighth of the campaign and third in as many games. Johnson was credited with her fifth assist of the year on that score, now giving her 32 helpers for her career.
Seattle Pacific equalized through its leading scorer, Megan Lindsay, at 32:50, as the senior forward pounced on the rebound from a long-distance Annie Thomas shot that Triton goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky initially saved with difficulty. Lindsay's shot from a tight angle from the left side found the target for her 12th of 2012.
Brodsky concluded the match with four saves for UCSD, while junior counterpart Natalie Harold wound up with three stops for SPU.
The woodwork outdid both goalkeepers, as UCSD and SPU combined to hit the various bars on each other's targets five times. UCSD was denied twice in each half, with two shots smacking off the crossbar and a pair going off the posts. Thomas herself had an attempt come back off the crossbar for SPU with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation.
The crossbar connect began early as Wi threatened to be the first to dent the scoreline. Her left-footed shot from inside the penalty area off the rebound of a deflected Cassie Callahan effort was put out by the crossbar at 9:51. The sequence had begun with Johnson's first corner kick of the night as the specialist created danger from set pieces all night long.
Less than eight minutes later, it was Wi's right foot that necessitated a diving save by Harold. At 27:20, senior holding central midfielder Britnee Chesney pinged her attempt from distance off the left post.
UCSD kept pressuring the SPU goal to create a more comfortable advantage. With under 17 minutes to play in the opening period, senior forward Laura Gordon provided a strong cross from the right that Hernandez looked to have a beat on at the far post, only for freshman Falcon defender Emma Holm to head away to safety.
The first foul of the game by either side was finally whistled against the visitors after half an hour had already been played, and the tying goal came a short time later through what was Thomas' fourth assist of the year.
Following the interval, Lindsay's left-footed shot was saved by Brodsky as Seattle Pacific tried to capitalize on a Triton turnover in their own half.
In the 56th minute, Wi made a darting run down the right wing before crossing into the middle. Forward Izzy Pozurama's first-time shot was blocked away by a defender, with fellow sophomore Callahan's ensuing try again denied by the bar above Harold.
At 79:11, Wi's opposite number on the UCSD wing, senior Alexa Enlow, produced an curling cross from the left that junior forward Casey Parisi latched onto in time to skip a short-hopped shot at the base of the far post, but could not beat the right post.
Finally with the seconds ticking down to indicate the end of regulation, Thomas tried to end it in favor of Seattle Pacific, but the bar worked in favor of the hosts.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 21-8-2 all-time in 12 appearances at the NCAA Division II Championship ... The Tritons are 12-2-2 in NCAA Division II Championship action in La Jolla ... Seattle Pacific is 14-8-3 at the end of its 10th straight NCAA Division II Championship appearance ... The Tritons are 4-2 against Seattle Pacific all-time, including 3-2 now at the NCAA Championship ... Tonight's contest was the fourth time that UCSD and SPU met in the NCAA Second Round (2005, 2006, 2008), with the other postseason meeting a Third Round affair in 2010 ... Both UCSD (2000, 2001) and Seattle Pacific (2008) are former NCAA Division II national champions ... The Tritons are 6-2-1 at home in 2012 ... Ellen Wilson has still played every minute of every match for UCSD this season ... Kelcie Brodsky, Britnee Chesney, Alexa Enlow, Hayley Johnson and Jessica Wi have also started all 20 matches ... With her 32nd career assist, Johnson remains fifth on the all-time UCSD list ... Wi's other game-winner this season came from a free kick at 109:57 at Cal State L.A. on Sept. 14 ... UCSD's 12 corner kicks fell one short of its season high of 13 at Humboldt State on Oct. 7 ... The Tritons improved to 4-1-3 in overtime games in 2012 ... UCSD is a still-undefeated 13-0-2 when scoring first and a perfect 11-0 when tallying two or more goals this year.
-- UCSDtritons.com --