SPOKANE, Wash. – In one of the gutsiest performances at the Gonzaga Soccer Field, the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team scored two goals against Saint Mary’s College in the final 1:15 of regulation to tie the match and send it into overtime. Unfortunately, the visiting Gaels notched the winning goal with 45 seconds remaining in the second overtime to hand the Bulldogs a heartbreaking 3-2 setback Sunday.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the team for battling, not giving up and scoring two goals in the final minutes of regulation,” stated Zag head coach Amy Edwards after the match. “Unfortunately, a miss communication in our defense, after controlling play in overtime, was the difference.”
It was a bit of miss communication in the back that allowed Saint Mary’s to score the winning goal and earn the West Coast Conference victory. A ball was played over the top of the Bulldog defense but the speedy and steady Morgan Manchester got to the ball before Gael midfielder Vicki Shimkus could. Manchester headed it back towards Zag keeper Susan Brown, but Brown had moved outside of the box to possible clear the ball. With Brown moving forward, the headed ball was played over top of her, to a wide open net. Shimkus got to the ball before any Bulldog could and easily placed it in the net at the 109:15 mark of the match.
If not for the perseverance off all the Gonzaga players, the match would not have made it past 90 minutes.
The Bulldogs went down 2-0 in the second half after Saint Mary’s scored its two goals over a three minute span. Gael Melinda Madden put them up 1-0 after she scored her second goal of the season at the 63:22 mark and Shimkus added the second at 66:23.
Despite being down 2-0, Gonzaga peppered the Saint Mary’s goal with five of their 15 second half shots in the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Bulldogs constant pressure finally paid off at the 88:45 mark when the Gaels scored an own goal off a corner kick taken by Tori Lee.
The miraculous second goal to tie the match came with 26 seconds left before the final whistle blew. A foul by the Gaels turned into a free kick at half field which was taken by Brown. She lofted a ball into the middle of the box that freshman Heather Johnson got a body part on to redirect. The ball found classmate Lauren Luke who headed the ball towards goal. Gael defender Melinda Madden, who was standing on the goal line, first headed it up and then tried to kick it away, but the clearance hit the head of a rushing Manchester into the goal.
Gonzaga did have opportunities in the overtime periods, including back-to-back opportunities by sophomore Kasey Rubosky in the second overtime. Her first was a shot that Gael keeper Khayla Jones saved and the second was a header that forced Jones to again make the save.
With the heartbreaking loss, Gonzaga fell to 6-6-0 on the year and 0-1-0 in league play. Saint Mary’s improved to 6-5-2 overall and 1-0 in WCC.
The Bulldogs return to action Thursday when they host the University of Portland. The Pilots are currently 6-3-2 and have yet to play a WCC match.