Huskies Battle No. 19 USC To 2-2 Draw
Nov. 8, 2009
SEATTLE - Senior Alex Kirk had a career-day in her final regular-season game at Husky Soccer Field, scoring a pair of goals to lead the Washington women's soccer team to a 2-2 draw with No. 19 USC on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Huskies hope it was enough to secure their second-straight postseason berth after finishing with an 11-5-4 overall record and 3-3-3 mark in Pac-10 play. Sunday's result guarantees UW a tie for fifth in the standings of one of the country's most difficult conferences.
The Pac-10 sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament last season and is even deeper this year, with seven teams ranked in the RPI top-30. The Huskies came into the week ranked No. 23 in the RPI and playing No. 4 UCLA and No. 19 USC tough in their final two games this weekend will only help their chances.
The Huskies came from behind twice in the match on Sunday, with USC getting on the board in the 18th minute on a goal by Marihelen Tomer, whose low line drive from 20 yards out on the right wing was placed perfectly into the lower left corner of the net.
But Kirk scored the first of her two goals of the game in the 25th minute, taking a beautiful cross from McKenna Waitley right in front of the goal and punching it in for her third goal of the season.
The Women of Troy would take the lead again, however, just before the half when Claire Schloemer lofted a shot from 10 yards out that snuck just over the finger tips of UW senior Alex Phillips to put USC ahead at half.
But just six minutes into the second half Kirk would strike again, this time beating a USC defender one-on-one down the left sideline and firing a shot far post to tie the score yet again and make her senior day a memorable one.
The teams battled back and forth over the final 60 minutes, with the Huskies outshooting USC, 20-19, for the match. USC controlled the run of play for much of the overtime, taking four shots to just one by the Huskies, but UW's defense would not allow the golden goal.
Sophomore Kari Davidson, who relieved Phillips after halftime, made four saves to keep the Women of Troy scoreless over the final 65 minutes. USC's All-American Kristin Olsen made six saves to limit the Huskies to the two goals.
Kirk, who has played on UW's backline as a defender for most of the season, was moved up front early in the match on Sunday and made the most of her opportunities.
'To quote (Seattle Sounders coach) Sigi Schmid, in the game of soccer you start worrying when you're not creating opportunities. Finishing is a special skill and it's way harder than it looks from the sidelines and it's way harder than it looks when you're playing in the back of the field, but our starting left back made it look a little easier today,' Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore said. 'When you start losing those chances is when you start worrying as a coach. I'm really pleased with what we created today. We fought hard and USC is a very good team. At this point in the season, there's so much at stake and people are fatigued mentally and physically so it was kind of a gutsy, grind-it-out result for both teams. I'm proud of our team for the season we've had, having to battle through some injuries and juggle some things around. I'm hoping the postseason happens for us and I'm hoping the postseason is when we start to get on the good end of a lot of those chances we're creating because I really think we have the ability to put up some good numbers.'
Gallimore, who has led UW into the postseason nine times in her 15 seasons with the Huskies, feels cautiously optimistic about the Huskies being one of the 64 teams named to the tournament on Monday.
'I've been around too long to make any predictions. I don't care where we go, I just want our name to come up somewhere,' Gallimore said. 'Our kids have worked hard and I think our conference has been unbelievable this year. It's definitely been the toughest since I've been coaching in the Pac-10. It's been fun to see and it bodes well for the future of our conference. The good news for us is I feel like we hung in there with everyone in our conference. I'm hoping to see a good number of teams selected from the Pac-10 tomorrow and I think we're as deserving as anyone.'
The NCAA Selection Show will air Monday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. PT on ESPNews.
Pac-10 Women's Soccer
Washington 2, USC 2
Husky Soccer Field; Seattle, Wash.
Scoring - 1, USC, Marihelen Tomer (Megan Ohai, Carly Butcher), 17:26. 2, UW, Alex Kirk (McKenna Waitley), 24:08. 3, USC, Claire Schloemer (Alyssa Davila),42:53. 4, UW, Alex Kirk (unassisted), 51:10.
Shots - UW 20, USC 19
Corners - UW 5, USC 7
Saves - UW 5 (Kari Davidson 4, Alex Phillips 1), USC 6 (Kristin Olsen).
Fouls - UW 12, USC 19
Offsides - UW 2, USC 0
Attendance - 584