LOGAN, Utah - The No. 19 (No. 2 seed) University of Denver women's soccer team found the back of the net in the first five minutes of both halves to take a 2-0 result from No. 3 seed Texas State in the first of two Western Athletic Conference Semifinals on Friday afternoon at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field.
"It was two similar halves in the sense that we got two quick goals," head coach Jeff Hooker said. "After the first half goal, we took our foot off the gas a little bit and didn't keep as much possession as we would have liked. We got on them a little bit at halftime, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half. The nice thing was, we got 21 players into the game and kept the sharpness up of those who haven't played in a game in a while."
Denver (15-1-4) got the quick start that it was looking for with the extra day of rest before it started its WAC Tournament. Junior forward Kristen Hamilton (Littleton, Colo.) started the scoring chance, playing a ball behind the Texas State (8-12-1) backline. Senior forward Kaitlin Bast (Centennial, Colo.) beat the Bobcats' center backs to the ball and took a touch wide to get around diving-keeper Natalie Gardini, before placing her shot across the face of goal and inside the far post in the fifth minute. Bast has now scored in five-consecutive matches, and is tied with Lleane Grimditch (2003-06) for third in school history in points with 99.
The Pioneers quickly made it 2-0 after the intermission, as senior forward Kalie Vaughn(Fort Collins, Colo.) found the back of the net for the second time this season on junior midfielder Nicholette DiGiacomo's (Golden, Colo.) eighth assist. DiGiacomo's 46th-minute corner-kick service was played at the six-yard box, giving Gardini the option of coming off her line or staying in net. After the ball bounced off a couple bodies in the box, Vaughn quickly got on the end of it and knocked it into an open left side of the net.
Bast is the first Pioneer to score in five-consecutive matches since Jenna Billingsley scored in six-straight in the final six matches of the 2006 season.
The Crimson and Gold held a 14-4 advantage in shots, and scored on its only corner kick of the match.
"It was a good balanced day today," Hooker said. "We would have liked to get a third goal, but we feel pretty happy about being in the final. You've got to get in the final to win the final, and we're in the final. We're looking forward to Sunday."
DU will take on No. 1 seed and host Utah State in the WAC Final on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. MT
NOTES: With the win, Denver extended its unbeaten streak to 19, tying the longest stretch in school history that went across the 2010 and 2011 season. The Pioneers improved its NCAA Division I conference tournament record to 26-4-2.
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