Nov. 24, 2006
UCLA - 2
Portland - 1
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The University of Portland women's soccer team, playing its fourth consecutive postseason road game after not receiving a seed from the NCAA selection committee, fell 2-1 to No. 3 UCLA in the quarterfinals. The game was a rematch of the 2005 NCAA Championship game in which the Pilots claimed a 4-0 victory to win their second title in four years.
Portland ends the season 17-4-3 after making its 11th appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals. UCLA (21-3-0) advances to its fourth consecutive College Cup and will face the winner of North Carolina and Texas A&M.
"The season as a whole was phenomenal," head coach Garrett Smith said. "We're young, we had some key injuries, and it was tough to do what we did on the road. I am very, very happy with the season we had."
The Pilots took an early 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a strike by junior forward Rachael Rapinoe (pictured), but UCLA's McCall Zerboni tied it at 1-1 just three minutes later.
Freshman Lauren Cheney netted the game winner on a penalty kick in the 70th minute after the referee called a foul on senior keeper Cori Alexander when she lunged for the ball and made contact with UCLA midfielder Christina DeMartino, who was alone in the box.
"I'm a little disappointed to see a game decided on a call like that," Smith said. "The referee had to make a decision and obviously I didn't agree with the call, but he's the man in the middle."
Alexander dove to her right and got a glove on Cheney's shot, but the ball went underneath her arm and into the net.
For the game, the Bruins outshot the Pilots 17-4.
"UCLA did a good job sustaining their pressure," junior All-American midfielder Angie Woznuk said. "But I'm really proud of our team to play on the road like we did. It's only going to help us in the future."
The offensive fireworks came early and often in the first half, as each team scored in the first eight minutes of action.
Rapinoe gave Portland a 1-0 lead at the 5:07 mark with a goal off of a free kick, sending a bullet just inside the right post from 25 yards away. The goal was Rapinoe's ninth of the season and fifth of the 2006 playoffs, including at least one in each of the four postseason matches.
"I hadn't taken a kick all year, but I just felt like I needed to step up and take it," Rapinoe said. "I felt comfortable that I could make something happen."
The goal also marked the second consecutive game in which Rapinoe scored inside the first six minutes; last Sunday she netted the eventual game-winner against Texas only three minutes into the first half. The shot was the first and only shot for the Pilots in the half.
The early lead didn't last long, however, as UCLA equalized less than three minutes later when McCall Zerboni tapped in a Danesha Adams corner kick. After Adams sent in the corner, the ball bounced around the box before finding Zerboni, who tapped it in from five yards out for an easy goal. Adams and Bristyn Davis were credited with assists.
"It was unfortunate to give up an equalizer that quickly," Smith said.
Things then settled down in the first half after the early scoring flurry, with neither team able to generate many good scoring chances. UCLA outshot the Pilots 7-1 for the half.
Both teams had excellent opportunities early in the second period. Adams nearly gave the Bruins a lead two minutes in, breaking loose from the Portland defense and sending a shot six inches wide of the goal. Adams finished the match with a game-high six shots.
Two minutes later, Portland freshman striker Kendra Chandhoke broke free in the box after receiving a through ball from senior midfielder Lisa Sari, but UCLA keeper Valerie Henderson was there for the save.
Henderson finished the match with two saves while Alexander had four for the Pilots.
After Cheney put the Bruins up 2-1 in the 70th minute, Portland switched to a 3-4-3 formation and freshman striker Michelle Enyeart, the team's leading scorer who had not seen any game action since suffering an injury early in the team's second-round match at Utah, entered the game. Enyeart finished the season as one of the nation's top freshman scorers with 16 goals and six assists.
Portland made things interesting in the final minute after being awarded a free kick with less than 45 seconds to go. Woznuk sent the ball into the box, but the Pilots were unable to get a clear shot on goal and the ball was cleared out by the Bruins defense.
It was the final game for six Pilots seniors: Alexander, Sari, defender Kari Evans, forward Elsa Hume, goal keeper Ruth Gilliam and forward Jennifer Tuttle.