IDAHO STATE TRUMPS WOMEN'S SOCCER FOR BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP IN SUDDEN DEATH SHOOTOUT
POCATELLO, Idaho - In Sacramento State''s first-ever appearance in the Big Sky Tournament Championship match, the Hornets'' fate was decided in a sudden death penalty kick shootout. Idaho State goalkeeper Lyndsay Gensler made a stop in the seventh round to give the Bengals a 4-3 shootout advantage, the 2006 championship and an automatic berth to the NCAA College Cup on Sunday afternoon at Davis Field.
The match ended in a 2-2 tie after two overtime periods forcing the shootout, but unlike Friday when the Hornets advanced past Montana 5-4 in the semifinals by way of a shootout, it was the Bengals (10-8-1), the regular season champs, who buried more of their opportunities. After each team took their first five attempts, the score was even at 2-2, with Sarah Howard and Katie McCoy scoring for Sacramento State and Annamarie Hofstetter and Kim Crosbie scoring for the Bengals. Gensler made three saves for the Idaho State in the first five rounds of the shootout, while Hornet freshman goalkeeper Mandy Trojan made three saves as well.
Following the first five rounds, each round then became sudden death. Chantal Kim made her attempt in the sixth round and senior midfielder Maggie Murphy struck her attempt well to continue the shootout. Natalie Graham again put the pressure on Sacramento State by burying her shot to start the seventh round, before Gensler made a top-notch save on Hornet defender Katie Burton to give the Bengals the championship.
During the match, the team''s exchanged goals quickly, with Sacramento State (10-7-4) taking the lead on both occasions before surrendering equalizers. In the 32nd minute, sophomore midfielder Sarah Howard scored her fourth goal of the season, putting Maggie Murphy''s cross from the left past Gensler. It was Howard''s second goal of the tournament. The Chino, Calif., native also scored the Hornets'' lone goal against the Grizzlies in the semifinals.
Idaho State quickly evened the score in the 36th minute with Graham scoring her third of the year.
With things evened at the half, it was again the combination of freshman forward Kim Kemper and McCoy that gave the Hornets'' a short-lived edge. Following an Idaho State foul, Kemper chested down McCoy''s free kick, hammering home her fourth goal of the season in the 77th minute. The two combined for the Hornets'' only goal in a 1-0 victory at Portland State that clinched Sacramento State a berth in the Big Sky Tournament on Oct. 27.
Similar to the first half, the Hornets failed to hold their lead. Just three minutes later in the 80th minute, Jill Christofferson evened the score with her second goal of the year just clearing the line at the back post.
Sacramento State had several looks at goal, outshooting Idaho State 13-7 and holding an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Sacramento State ends it season with a 10-7-4 record, the team''s best finish in program history. Under third-year head coach Katie Poynter, the team advanced to Big Sky Tournament for the second consecutive season after a three-year absence.
Notes: The shootout loss ended the collegiate careers of Natalia Romo, Maggie Murphy and Kelly Novak...Murphy, who was one of only four players to start all 21 matches this season, tied her career high with five assists this season...she ends her career with 12 assists, tied for third in program history...Novak, who scored the penalty in the fifth round that advanced Sacramento State past Montana on Friday in the semifinals, ends her career with two all-Big Sky Conference honors, 10 goals and nine assists...McCoy set a new career high with seven assists this season, improving her career total to 15, second in program history...for the second consecutive year, Howard was named to the Big Sky all-tournament team...it was Sacramento State''s ninth overtime match of the year...it was the first time the tournament championship was decided by a shootout during its history...Murphy, McCoy and defender Kara Taylor were also named to the all-tournament team.