Sept. 11, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. Freshman Micaela Capelle tallied a goal and an assist in her first career start and junior Halley Kreminski nodded in the game-winner in the 85th minute as the No. 4 Pilots topped No. 24 Rutgers in the late game of the Nike Portland Invitational Friday night. A crowd of 3,103 turned out for another nail-biter at Merlo Field at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex as the Pilots improved to 7-0-0 on the season.

The Pilots have struggled to score goals early in games thus far this season, so head coach Garrett Smith inserted freshmen Capelle and Ellen Parker into the starting rotation. It paid dividends as Capelle put the Pilots on top in the 16th minute with her team-leading fifth goal. Taylor Brooke started the sequence by playing a ball to senior Keelin Winters at the top of the penalty box. Winters slotted a pass into space on the right side of the box and Capelle ran onto it, took one touch and then finished to the left post from a sharp angle.

The Scarlett Knights (4-2-0) evened the score in the 28th minute on a hustle play by Karla Schacher. Portland freshman goalkeeper Erin Dees rolled out the ball to send a service up field, but Schacher ran back and blocked the kick and the ball sailed towards the Portland goal. Schacher beat Dees to the endline and tapped in the equalizer.

After lots of back-and-forth action early in the second period, the Pilots started to take control with many scoring opportunities in the closing minutes. The game-winner finally came when senior defender Elli Reed made a great run down the left sideline and sent a cross into the six yard box. Rutgers goalkeeper Emmy Simpkins came off her line to try and intercept the cross, but Capelle was there to head the ball towards the goal. Kreminski nodded in the winner to the open net.

Simpkins made six saves in the match, including five in the second half. Dees stopped two shots and allowed just her third goal of the season. The Pilots had a 15-8 edge in shots and 5-1 margin in corner kicks for the match.

Portland's seven wins to open the 2010 season are tied for the third most in program history with the 2009 and 2000 squads. The Pilots started five freshmen in the match as both Capelle and Parker made their first career starts.

Portland will conclude the Nike Invitational on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. versus Penn State. The game will have free live video at portlandpilots.com. The Nittany Lions (1-4-1) dropped a 2-1 decision Washington in Friday's early game. Washington and Rutgers will kickoff at noon on Sunday.