Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gonzaga women post first win against Oregon State, PAC-12 since 2007

The Bulldogs dominated in a rare win against PAC-12 opposition | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - GALLERY
A corner kick goal from Tori Lee in the first half led the Gonzaga women to a 1-0 victory over visiting Oregon State Sunday afternoon to end a three-game losing skid.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it was the lady Zags first victory against a PAC-12 opponent since they defeated the Beavers October 5, 2007 by the same scoreline. The Bulldogs, who fell at Oregon State 2-0 a year ago, had gone 15 consecutive games without even earning a draw against opponents from the high-profile conference.

"We needed that. Last week was a great week of training for us," said Gonzaga head coach Amy Edwards. "I think our players stuck to the game plan and just gutted it out, gutted it out.

Tori Lee
"Tori's goal off of the corner, I think, was obviously quality of service, but you also see the other people that had a hand in it because our runners and the quality of their runs and dynamic movements there in the box; it froze up their goalkeeper so she wasn't able to make a save. So, credit to Tori, but I think it was a whole group effort off that."

In the 27th minute Lee launched a tightly angled corner that caught goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme out of position, soaring the ball on a slight arc that saw it drop and crash off the far post and in for the olympico.

"She's our most consistent really off of any dead ball situations. Tori's kind of our go-to person. We talked to her at the beginning of the season. 'If this is what you are going to bring; this is gonna be your specialty, you gotta bring it week in and week out.' So, she's really improving the consistency too."

Oregon State came out with the initial offensive push, but after about 10 minutes the Zags began to show some confidence, and after a series of close chances around the 12th minute took command of the contest. Sarah Carter sent a rebound off a corner kick wide and Heather Johnson (Kennewick, WA) had one shot blocked by a defender and another stopped by the keeper. Johnson had two more attempts in the 18th and 23rd blacked and go wide before Lee found the mark from the corner.

"Our whole game plan was to press them all over the field, and so that's both sides of the ball. You gotta press defensively, but then the whole idea was you gotta press them [everywhere] as well - you can't play underneath them so much so we had to look to get in behind, and obviously you can see the pace with Karley Baggerly and even the burst with Heather. Our idea was, okay, lets put them on their heels a little bit, and we were able to do that. Confidence comes from that."

Oregon State finally had a good look in the 32nd minute with a chance that should have been finished when a ball sent from the left soared over a Beaver player and her marker at the center of the box and dropped behind them to an open Brittney Oljar, but her header flew wide of the left post.

Cricket Harber & Jordan Travis
Other than a few late scrambles in the area, it was the best chance of the contest for the Beavers, who are now 1-6-1 for the season, as Christie Tombari (Spokane Valley, WA) finished the game with four saves for the shutout as Gonzaga outshot the visitors 15-9.

"I tell ya, our back four all season has played really well. There's been a couple of issues, but Sarah Carter is fitting in very nicely and Cricket Harber's leadership and her organization has been great; so she's been able to add some stability there next to Carter, who's the freshman. And then, Jordan Travis is such a good one-v-one defender. She's not the [quickest] but, she's such a smart defender. And Katey Pennington (Boise, ID), she is playing so incredibly physical for someone of her size, and she just is reading the play so much better.

"That group of four, honestly, the whole season I have been very, very happy with. Today, I think you saw us put the pieces through the midfield and up front with our backs."

Lee nearly added a second tally with a shot in the 59th minute from just inside the top of the box that narrowly flew over the bar and two minutes later Kellyn Nelson directed a nice header at the top of the box off a free kick from midfield that flashed by the left post.