Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
|Vandals ousted in OT|
LOGAN, Utah – It was the season in a nutshell for Idaho women’s soccer on Thursday in a 2-1 overtime loss to Texas State in the quarterfinal round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
Sixth-seeded Idaho (6-14-1) dominated the first half of play and scored in the fourth minute to take a 1-0, but gave up a Texas State (8-11-1) score with less than one minute remaining in the period for a 1-1 halftime tie.
In the second half, the game was played more to Texas State’s liking, with long passes and back-and-forth play, but Idaho still earned plenty of good opportunities. A long shot by senior Megan Lopez clanked off the crossbar – the 13th time this season an Idaho shot has been denied by iron – and a free kick by senior Chelsea Small grazed the top of the crossbar minutes later.
In the first overtime period, the Vandal women had three chances to connect on the game-winning shot from inside the six-yard box, but two were blocked and the third sailed high. Moments later, Texas State earned an opportunity and buried it for the win.
After a goal kick, a Texas State player went to the ground with an apparent injury at midfield and play on the field paused for a moment. During the lull, a Bobcat player lobbed the ball deep into Idaho territory, where teammate Lynsey Curry was standing behind the Vandal defense. Curry turned and took a shot into the right corner at 96:43 to end the game and Idaho’s season.
“We can control what we control and for a lot of the game we did, but when things affect the game that are not within our control, it’s a very disappointing way to end the season,” Idaho head coach Peter Showler said. “It’s so sad for these seniors that things out of their control meant that their conference tournament went no further and they didn’t get an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”
Sophomore Katie Baran, who led the WAC in assists during the regular season, got things started for the Vandals in the fourth minute with her third score of the season. Small had carried the ball up the left flank and sent in a cross, but Texas State’s clear attempt went directly to Baran, who put it into the top right corner for the unassisted score.
“It’s exactly what we talked about before the game,” Showler said. “We got after them, we were hungry, took our chance and Katie put it away fantastically.”
Texas State played the counter game all afternoon and it finally paid off with 46 seconds left in the first period when defender Brenna Smith put a long ball up the sideline and midfielder Kelsie Townsend outran the Vandal back line and snuck a shot under goalkeeper Liz Boyden for the equalizer just before half.
“First half, we created enough chances that we should have been more than 1-0 up,” Showler said. “We played very well for long stretches, but at times, we let up and the consequence was that we gave up the goal right before halftime.”
Texas State outshot Idaho by a 20-16 margin in the game and had a 10-6 edge on goal. The Vandals had a 5-3 advantage on corners and the team made six saves to Texas State’s four.
“All credit to Texas State,” Showler said. “They stuck to the task and put us under a lot of pressure in the second half, so at the end of regulation, 1-1 was a fair result, based on what had happened in the game.”
It was Idaho’s sixth loss of the season by a single-goal margin and its second in overtime.
“I can’t fault the effort and the commitment from our whole squad and it’s just a sad way for a fantastic group of girls to lose,” Showler said. “We pick ourselves up and we move forward, which is no solace to the senior group.”