Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy Cal State Dominguez Hills Athletics

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The 15th-ranked Cal State Dominguez Hills women's soccer team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the NCAA West Region semifinal against host and No. 6 Cal State L.A., and held on for a 2-1 win to advance to next week's West Region Final at UC San Diego despite being a man down for the final 10 minutes of regulation after a red card went against CSUDH.

With the win, the Toros will face the region's No. 2 seed in UC San Diego on Friday night, after the Tritons took a 2-1 win over No. 6 Chico State in the other West sub-regional played yesterday evening.

"We started passing and keeping the ball early on, which limited their chances, and then they started pushing forward and creating their own chances and got their first goal," said head coach Joe Flanagan, just minutes after the contest.  "And then it got to scramble time and they kept pushing people forward and started taking some chances, but we held on."

The Toros capitalized on a timely throw-in fifteen minutes into the contest to grab an early 1-0 lead over the Golden Eagles, courtesy of Melissa Livergood.

Sending a throw-in from the near side, Brooke Thompson gave a perfect feed to a waiting Livergood inside the box, whose header easily floated past L.A.'s Jessie Walworth to give the Toros a 1-0 lead.

That's where the score remained until three minutes into the second half as Jessica Murphy collected a loose ball in the box off a Danielle Shoemaker shot to give CSUDH a 2-0 lead, sending her shot high into the goal.

In the 68th minute, the Golden Eagles cut the lead in half as Jasmin Stuemper took a far side, top-box feed from Kastidi Robles, and sent her shot into the left side of the frame to move the score to 2-1.

With just over 10 minutes left in regulation, Murphy collected a through ball and dribbled down the left side and past a couple of Golden Eagle defenders, curling to her left to ready for a shot, when she was tackled inside the box.

As the action continued without a whistle, Murphy regrouped and made a play on the ball with her own tackle, subsequently getting a red card for her efforts after taking down the Golden Eagle defender, which will render her ineligible for Friday's contest in La Jolla.

The Golden Eagles continued to push forward, nearly equalizing with two minutes left in regulation after a shot from Toro keeper Alyssa Congdon's left hit the post, and was cleared by the Toro defense.

Looking forward to the match-up which will decide the West's best, Flanagan looks forward to meeting the Tritons again after a win, loss and tie so far in 2009.  "Each team knows the other well, and we'll have 4 or 5 days to prepare for them and come up with a plan without Jess.  We'll have 11 players on the field and will try some different things.  But this team has been about the team the whole year; it hasn't been about one person so we'll have to step up to that challenge like we have been doing."

The Toros, now 15-8-1, will face UCSD, 15-5-1, for the fourth time this year after dropping a 2-1 decision on October 16, defeating UCSD 2-1 on November 1, and then advancing from the CCAA semifinals after a 5-3 penalty kick shootout win one week later.  First kick to decide the NCAA West's best is set for 7:00 pm on the campus of 2nd-seeded UC San Diego.