Nov. 21, 2009

* Courtesy of Cal State Dominguez Hills Athletics

LA JOLLA, Calif. - Junior keeper Alyssa Condgon made the three biggest saves of her career to propel the No. 15 Toros to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 3-1 penalty kick shootout win over host UC San Diego after the two schools tied 2-2 in regulation and two overtimes.

With the win, the 15-8-2 Toros will meet No. 13 West Texas A&M on Sunday at 12 noon, which also advanced in a PK shootout over St. Edward's in the other regional final.

"With UCSD, you have to expect these types of games," said ecstatic CSUDH head coach Joe Flanagan, after advancing. "They had all the momentum in the second half, but we were able to hold them off because our defense played very solid."

The Toros got the scoring started when sophomore Brooke Thompson measured a direct kick from 18 yards to UCSD keeper Kristin Armstrong's left, and sent a high line drive that settled in the V to Armstrong's right for a 1-0 lead, and then sent a throw-in that slipped off Armstrong's hands and into the UCSD net to double the score, giving the Toros a 2-0 lead in the NCAA West Region Final before the hosts scored two unanswered to knot the game at 2-2 heading into a PK shootout.

After a hard foul on Toro Britney Vance at the 47:44 mark, Thompson sent her blast past a quartet of Triton defenders 10 yards away, freezing Armstrong in her ready stance.

Less than two minutes later, Thompson sent a low line drive throw-in that slipped out of Armstrong's hands and into UCSD's net for an own goal.

Each team has had chances to score in the first 45 minutes, with UC San Diego threatening early, and the Toros threatening later in the half. The Tritons had a 2-on-1 opportunity go awry after an intial shot by Sarah McTigue hit the crossbar from 18 yards, and the ensuing rebound sailing just high.

CSUDH's Melissa Livergood countered with 15 minutes left in the half, blasting a shot from 15 yards to the right of Triton keeper Kristin Armstrong, seeing her shot just deflected outside the post to keep the game scoreless.

The No. 2 seeded Tritons, however, cut the lead in half after Lisa Bradley took a feed from Danielle Dixon and sent her header over Toro keeper Alyssa Congdon at the 57:12 mark.

Twenty minutes later, Triton Sarah McTigue sent a high line drive over Congdon's head from 12 yards out that found the upper left V, deadlocking the game at 2-2, draping momentum in Triton Blue and White until regulation expired, setting the stage for Congdon's heroics.

"I just realized that it could go either way, so I told myself to just read them, which I did," said Congdon, drenched in success after the contest. "My goal is to win an NCAA Championship, and I'm excited for the next stage."

In the PK shootout, the Tritons took advantage of the first Toro miss, only to see Yadira Gomez and Thompson convert the next two shots. After UCSD's first make, Congdon saved three-consecutive shots to set the stage for CSUDH's final shooter, Melissa Livergood, whose low line drive to the right of Armstrong went untouched as the Triton keeper dove left, setting off a sea of Cardinal & Golden encompassing Triton Field.

"We saw a little bit of West Texas in the early game, so we're going to take a deep breath tonight and soak this in, and hope to get a game plan going."

First kick for Sunday's NCAA Quarterfinal is set for 12 noon, on Triton Soccer Field on the campus of UC San Diego.