WOMEN'S SOCCER WINS BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP! HORNETS DEFEAT NAU 1-0 IN TITLE GAME
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Elece McBride scored the game-winning goal in the 52nd minute and the Hornets defeated Northern Arizona, 1-0, to win their second Big Sky Conference championship in the last four years on Sunday afternoon at a blustery Lumberjack Stadium.
Elece McBride (11) was named tournament MVP after her goal gave the Hornets the Big Sky title.
(All photos courtesy Matt Beaty/NAU Media Realtions)
The Hornets now have a 9-9-1 record and will advance to the NCAA College Cup for the second time in school history. The 64-team bracket will be revealed live on ESPNU during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday at 1:30 p.m. PT. A total of 30 automatic qualifying conference champions earn bids along with 34 at-large selections. First-round games begin on Nov. 12.
After being scoreless at halftime, McBride took a pass from Kelsey O'Donnell and blasted a shot from 20-yards out that stayed high and slipped just under the crossbar but over the outstretched hands of NAU keeper Tori Rocke.
"I cannot be prouder of my team, to win two big games in a very difficult environment," said head coach Randy Dedini. "As the season went along we kept getting healthier and kept getting getting better. Our strong play at the end of the year really carried over into the tournament."
After starting the season 5-6-1 in non-conference play, the Hornets went 6-3 in to close the season, including both Big Sky Tournament wins. Cori Shreve and O'Donnell both missed significant time early in the season.
The wind was a major factor in the game. With the strong wind at NAU's back in the first half, the Hornet defense clamped down and cleared out all of the Lumberjacks' long, sailing crossing passes and shots. But with the wind on their side in the second half, the Hornets exploited it, sending long passes into the box on multiple occasions. McBride's shot was certainly helped by the breeze, as it hung in the air and was able to stay high and out of reach.
Despite the conditions, Savannah Abercrombie had a stellar day in the net for the Hornets, making five saves - including two crucial stops late in the game - to record the clean sheet victory.
Northern Arizona had a 17-10 edge in total shots in the game but held just a slim 5-3 lead in shots on goal. NAU took a pair of corner kicks while the Hornets had none. Sacramento State had five saves while Northern Arizona had two.
It was a very clean game, with just 11 total fouls and no cards issued.
2010 BIG SKY WOMEN'S SOCCER ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Elece McBride* – Sacramento State
Leah Larot - Sacramento State
Savannah Abercrombie - Sacramento State
Laura Bahno - Sacramento State
Cori Shreve - Sacramento State
Caitlin Pulver – Sacramento State
Jenna Samora – Northern Arizona
Kristi Andreassen - Northern Arizona
Tori Rocke - Northern Arizona
Sam Monahan - Northern Arizona
Kirstin Salminen - Northern Colorado
Eryn Brown – Portland State