Nov. 11, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --- The University of Portland women's soccer team advanced to the third round of the NCAA playoffs in convincing fashion, defeating No. 10 Utah on the road 3-0. Portland moves on to face the winner of the Texas-Connecticut game set to take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12.
The Pilots (16-3-3) will learn if they host the third round match after all of Sunday's playoff games are complete. After winning two post season games on the road this weekend, head coach Garrett Smith knows his team is ready to play anywhere.
"You don't win national championships at home," Smith said. "You have to win on the road."
The defending national champion Pilots controlled much of the match, recording 12 shots to Utah's eight. Junior striker Rachael Rapinoe (pictured) was the star offensive player, tallying two second half goals to lead the Pilot attack.
After the two teams battled to a scoreless draw in the first half, the Pilots were able to crack the Ute defense and create several good chances in the final 45 minutes.
"Give Utah a lot of credit for keeping it close in the first half," Smith said. "But as the game went on, we got better and better chances and we capitalized."
Senior midfielder Lisa Sari got things going for the Pilots three minutes into the half, heading an Angie Woznuk corner kick into the net. Woznuk tallied her team-leading 11th assist after finding Sari alone in the right corner and delivering a perfect ball.
"I didn't even have to move," Sari said. "She just hit me right in the head."
Said Woznuk of the same play: "I saw her in an open spot and I think we just both knew that I would be going to her."
Rapinoe pushed the lead to 2-0 12 minutes later, finishing a pass from fellow junior Natalie Budge on a nifty combination of passes by the Pilots.
"I just turned and saw the goal keeper was out a little bit," Rapinoe said. "The right side of the net was open and I just cracked it in.
Ten minutes later Rapinoe was at it again, giving the Pilots a 3-0 lead after placing a Stephanie Lopez cross into the twine from the corner of the box. Rapinoe now has seven goals on the season.
The Utes were unable to muster much of a threat on the Pilot goal as the Portland defense clamped down and did not allow Utah any good scoring opportunities. Amanda Feigt finished with three shots to lead the Utes.
"Our back line played great tonight," said senior keeper Cori Alexander, who only needed to make one save to record the shutout.
Portland did have one scary moment in the first half when the team's scoring leader freshman Michelle Enyeart went down with an injury. Enyeart did not return in the match.
Portland has now advanced to at least the Round of Sixteen 13 times in the past 15 seasons.