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Pilots' playoff run ends with NCAA Second Round loss to Michigan

Nov. 16, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Portland Pilots fell behind early and never recovered as the Michigan Wolverines claimed a 3-0 win in an NCAA Second Round game played on a chilly Friday night at Penn State's Jeffrey Field. The 21st-ranked and fourth-seeded Pilots end the season with an 11-5-5 overall record, while Michigan improves to 16-5-2.

The Wolverines scored in the fourth and 45th minutes to take a 2-0 lead into the halftime locker room, despite Portland dominating time of possession and posting a convincing 7-2 edge in shots

In the second half, Michigan was again able to hold off the Portland attack before scoring a third goal in the 63rd minute on a one-v-one chance by forward Nkem Ezurike. Ezurike, who assisted on both first-half goals, finished from 15 yards out to hand the Wolverines control of the scoreboard.

The Pilots finished with a 10-8 advantage in overall shots, but it was Michigan who was the Wolverines who were able to score on their first shot of the night. Ezurike sent a low pass towards the center of the box from the right end line. That's where Clare Stachel punched one into the back of the net to give Michigan an early 1-nil lead just 3:23 into the game.

Portland nearly responded on the ensuing kickoff. Junior forward Amanda Frisbie hit one towards the goal from the top of the 18-yard box, but Michigan goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer was there to make the save and preserve the one-goal lead.

The Pilots would continue to create chances throughout the game's first 45 minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net. Kaila Cameli sent a shot wide, while Emily Sippel cracked one high of the cross bar.

And then just when it appeared the game would head into the half as a 1-nil Michigan lead, the Wolverines caught a break to make it a two-goal game. Emily Jaffe sent in a cross from the right end line that glanced off the hands of Portland keeper Erin Dees and into the left side of the net.

Dees, who kept Portland's season alive with three clutch saves during a PK shootout with Washington State a week ago, registered three stops against the Wolverines. Kopmeyer's denial on the shot from Frisbie was her only save of the night.

The Pilots next turn their focus to 2013 when they'll lose only one player from the current roster. Starting right back and senior Taylor Brooke played her final collegiate game on Friday night, and Portland will return a veteran squad next fall that features eight seniors.

Portland advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Playoffs for the 13th consecutive season. The Pilots won the National Championship in 2002 and 2005 and has been to the playoffs during 20 of the past 21 years. UP advanced past the Washington State Cougars 6-5 on PK's during a first-round match last Friday at Merlo Field after the two teams had played to a 2-2 tie.

--from portlandpilots.com