UCLA Falls To Notre Dame On Penalty Kicks

Dec. 5, 2004

Associated Press Writer

CARY, N.C. - Notre Dame goalkeeper Erika Bohn faced her first penaltykick of the season Sunday, and the stakes could not have been higher: Just afew minutes were left in the NCAA women's soccer title game.

Bohn jumped to her left and turned aside Kendal Billingsley's waist-highshot from 12 yards away to preserve a 1-1 tie in regulation.

'It's a pressure situation, but I just went with my gut,' Bohn said.'After I saved it, I knew we weren't going to lose.'

The tie stood up after 110 minutes of regulation and overtime, and NotreDame won its second NCAA title when Bohn turned away Lindsay Greco's shot toseal a 4-3 victory on penalty kicks.

Jill Krivacek made the winning shot for the Fighting Irish (24-1-1), whoalso won the national title in 1995 and joined North Carolina as the onlymultiple champions.

UCLA (18-6) led 1-0 in the 60th minute on Gudrun Gunnarsdottir's own-goalwhen her intended back-pass to Bohn went past the charging goalie and into theempty Irish net.

Notre Dame tied it on Katie Thorlakson's penalty kick in the 74th after shewas arm-tackled inside the penalty area.

The action was end-to-end throughout, but UCLA coach Jillian Elliss said thegame hinged on the late penalty kick save by Bohn, who was honored as the FinalFour's most outstanding defensive player.

'Two penalty kicks were called (in regulation), and we didn't put oursaway,' Elliss said. 'You get those chances, you've got to put them away.'

The Irish had outscored their five previous tournament opponents 11-1, whilethe Bruins had nothing but shutouts in outscoring their foes 9-0.

Notre Dame was making its fourth trip to the championship game. The Irishlost in 1994, 1996 and 1999 - each time to North Carolina. UCLA's only previousNCAA women's soccer final came in 2000, when the Bruins lost 2-1 to NorthCarolina.

Notre Dame created repeated chances, calmly passing through tight spaces inthe midfield and attacking down the flanks.

UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson was forced to confront Irish attackers bycharging from her line and hitting the ground to block shots with her body.

The Bruins supplemented their defense by taking advantage of long-rangeshots. One good chance came about 15 minutes before halftime, when BristynDavis - the Bruins' leading scorer with 14 goals and six assists - laced a shotthat caromed off the crossbar from 30 yards out.

Thorlakson, who led the country with 23 goals this season, was voted themost outstanding offensive player of the Final Four.

'I'm not a very emotional person on the outside, but as soon as the whistleblew, I just started crying,' she said.