SPOKANE, Wash. – For the second-straight match the Gonzaga University women’s soccer team went into double-overtime. This time the Bulldogs, who dropped a heart wrenching 3-2 setback to Saint Mary’s College in their last double-overtime match, tied the University of Portland 1-1 after a hard-fought 110 minutes Thursday.
The double-overtime tie is a historic moment for the Zags program as it is the first non-loss against the nationally recognized Pilots in 21 matches. It also is only the fourth time they have scored against a program that has gone to 19 NCAA Tournaments and won the National Championship in both 2002 and 2005.
“We knew we could compete today and we believed it,” explained Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards after the match. “That is the growth of this team. It was tough after the Saint Mary’s match, feeling like you didn’t get the results for our effort. We got a little more of a result from our efforts today.”
Gonzaga improved their record to 6-6-1 overall and 0-1-1 in the West Coast Conference, while Portland is now 6-3-3 on the year and 0-0-1 in league.
Similar to their match against the Gaels last Sunday, Gonzaga had an uphill battle being down 1-0 late in regulation.
The Pilots had taken the lead in the 70th minute on Kaila Cameli’s seventh goal of the season. Teammate Amanda Frisbie had lifted a ball over the Bulldog defense which Cameli’s ran onto. With a defender on her back, she placed a low shot passed Gonzaga keeper Susan Brown at 69:11.
The Bulldogs continued to press and fight with the hope that one of their many shot attempts would break the goal line.
It finally happened for Gonzaga with a little over eight minutes remaining in the match. Sophomore Kasey Rubosky played a ball to freshman Heather Johnson who found classmate Lauren Luke deep inside the Pilots goal box. Luke buried her second goal of the season at 81:47 to knot the match at 1-1.
“Heather and Lauren have continued to get better and understand what it takes to have more of an impact at this level,” explained Edwards of her freshman duo. “We saw that impact today with Heather’s assist and Lauren finishing that goal.”
Neither team could find the game-winner in regulation but both had fantastic opportunities in overtime to steal the win.
It was Gonzaga who had the first golden opportunity in overtime.
The Pilots were called for a foul just outside the 18-yard box with two minutes remaining in the first overtime period. Rubosky stepped up to take the dangerous free kick and nailed a shot that clanked off the cross bar.
“Kasey’s free kick, that is inches from going in,” said Edwards.
Three minutes into the second overtime, Gonzaga again put a scare into Portland. Senior Emma Dolcetti got free up the middle but her dangerous shot was saved by UP keeper Erin Dees.
The dramatics continued, this time with the Pilots getting into the action. With 53 seconds left in the match, Portland’s Noelle LaPrevotte hit a shot off the cross bar. The ball dropped in front of the goal and Michelle Cruz tried to head it in but Gonzaga keeper Susan Brown was there to save the day.
Brown finished with eight saves in the match, while Dees also had eight.
Gonzaga held a slight 22-21 advantage in total shots and each team had nine shots on goal.
“We fought to the bitter end,” said Edwards. “We competed together, we attacked together, and we defended together. We fought this battle together.”
Gonzaga now focuses its attention on the University of San Francisco. The Bulldogs play the Dons Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at Negoesco Stadium in San Francisco.