Saturday, September 12, 2015

Overtime sees Gonzaga women tie, men fall in heartbreaker

Full INWsn Photo Galleries - WOMEN :: MEN 
It was a disappointing day of double overtime at Gonzaga's Luger Field Friday as the lady Bulldogs played to a 1-1 draw in a game both they and Cal State Fullerton would probably rather forget and the Zag men dominated a contest that saw them fall 2-1 in a dramatic finish to Hartwick.

WOMEN - CSU Fullerton 1 :: 1 Gonzaga

The California side started off well in the women's game, dominating possession in the very early stages, but the Zags would even things out as the match progressed. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs, with one exception, were having an off day with passes and touches letting them down throughout the affair.

The one player, though, that had a good afternoon at home was goalkeeper Christie Tombari (Spokane, WA), who made nine saves for the draw. The keeper made a great save in the 39th minute to keep the match scoreless at the break. Alba Barrios let loose a shot from about 20 yards out on the right side, forcing Tombari to tip it over the bar.

"Christie is finding her same rhythm that she had for us last year, which we are gonna have to need with the youth of our back line," said Gonzaga women's Head Coach Amy Edwards.

The visitors finally broke through nine minutes into the second half when Rebecca Wilson made a great play, beating defender Ariana Pumpelly as she drove to the area. With just Tombari to beat, she drove along the top of the box to get around the keeper and knock it home into the empty net.

Fullerton nearly doubled the lead in the 69th minute when Connie Caliz found herself in the box with wide open look at the right side of goal, but sliced her shot outside of the post.

The miss proved critical for the visitors as Gonzaga capitalized on a foray into the offensive end just three minutes later. A throw-in from the left side into the box was not cleared out, allowing it to be sent back in toward the six where Karley Baggerly and goalkeeper Morgan Bertsch simultaneously met at the end line challenging for the ball, which popped loose and bounced around before it ultimately came back to Baggerly. The striker stuffed it in from just a few yards out to knot things up.

"Karley is always going to give you that effort, and sometimes its going to be a brilliant goal and sometimes its going to just be through her effort and that's just the special piece on her."

Both sides would have chances to grab the victory, but Gonzaga nearly grabbed the win with two good chances. With nine minutes remaining Aliyah Miller served a ball into the area that floated on goal, forcing Bertsch to tip it over the goal.

As the final seconds ticked away, Kristin Hayman created the first dramatic finish of the day with a well-paced effort from about 14 yards to the near post that was nicely saved by Bertsch to preserve the draw with 20 seconds left in the second overtime period.

"I think we are still trying to find our way as a group. We lost Lexi Clark in the last game and now we have to shift around again - we kind of thought we had that back line solidified. Just making some adjustments again and find ourselves putting in a freshman, McKenna Ferrara there at holding midfield. And it proved to be a calming force for us, and once we did that it actually helped us have a little bit better defensive presence. That's a pretty good team and they are gonna win a lot of games, and I am still proud of them for the character after giving up the goal."

MEN - Hartwick 2 :: OT :: 1 Gonzaga 

Aside from also going into double overtime, the men's game was the complete opposite from the opener. The Bulldogs controlled the ball from the start and outshot Hartwick 19-5 on the day.

One of the Hawks few looks on the day came 10 minutes in against the run of play when they worked their way up the right side and a shot was sent screaming across the six from a narrow angle, missing both posts.

Gonzaga nearly took the lead in the 34th minute when Nick Ulowetz got his head on a throw-in, directing the ball over goalkeeper Lenny Wilson, who had to reach back to tip it over the crossbar for one of his six saves in the match.

Another chance went for naught three minutes later when Jake Kempf got around his defender outside the right edge of the area and drove into the box, dishing it into the middle where Wilson and Christo Michaelson both slid for the ball. They met simultaneously, allowing a defender to clear the loose ball away.

The missed chances proved costly as a penalty at the other end allowed the visitors to take an unexpected lead three minutes before the break. Mike Rood converted from the spot.

The Bulldogs continued to apply the pressure on Hartwick's goal, but just could not find the mark until Graison Le (Coeur d'Alene, ID) struck with just seven seconds left on the clock to tie it up. Playing with a man advantage since the 88th, the Zags switched the ball from the left to Le in the middle to restart their last chance. He started with the ball about eight yards off from the center circle and beat a defender before driving right up the middle and letting loose from about 30 yards as a second defender came in on a tackle. With a lot of pace, the ball zipped through the area and into the upper right corner of the goal out of Wilson's reach.

"That's his strength - up the middle, dribble and beat a guy. Just off the dribble hitting a ball that was moving," Gonzaga men's Head Coach Einar Thorarinsson said. "The keeper had no chance on that shot. I've seen him do it in training. He actually moves the ball when he's shooting it like that - again, keeper had no chance."

The Bulldogs were pumped up, and came out hunting for the victory in overtime. They had a number of looks, none better than in the 97th when a ball in the left corner was slipped in to Conner Bevans, who turned and fired uncontested from inside the box only to see it miss the mark.

"My two outside backs, Ben White and Conner Bevans they are always right there," Thorarinsson commended for their defensive efforts, though Bevans played the latter portions of the game in the attack. "Conner's speed and ability to get behind defenses - it worked there, I thought, for a while, but he was getting tired."

A defensive break down in the second overtime would be the Zags undoing. A counter-attack in the third minute saw a pair of Hawks driving toward goal against a pair of defenders, who misplayed their chance to stop the play, giving Jamie O'Grady the opportunity to beat Chris Lowrimore, who had to make only one save in the previous 100 minutes and change, for the winner.

"That's it hard to take when you lose in overtime. It's so sudden just like when you win it. It's so sudden - boom. It's tough to lose in overtime, especially when you have the chances to maybe put one in."

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