Nov. 11, 2010

Courtesy of Montana St. Billings Athletics

SEATTLE - Junior Amanda Brusic (Yakima, WA) launched a ball into the wet Seattle night in the 66th minute and the ball floated over the head of Gabriella Batmani to help send the Montana State Billings Yellowjackets to their first-ever victory in the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win over No.19 Cal State L.A., Thursday.

The Yellowjackets improved to 13-5-1 on the season with the win, while the Golden Eagles fell to 15-4-1 to end their season. It was just the second time this season CSULA has been shutout in a match.

Our program just took another step in the right direction against a very good Cal State L.A. team,” said head coach Don Trentham. Our team has much strength, but one of the greatest has been defending the goal. I felt our back four and holding midfielder did a great job at shutting down a very good attacking team. Amanda (Brusic) had a great game defensively, but an even better offensive game and deserved to get the game-winner. Sabrina Grandke-Bawab was very solid in the net, and when she was asked to make a big save, she did.”

In front of a very pro MSUB crowd, the Jackets looked poised to score early in the half as Brusic took a deflected ball and fired it into the lower left corner, but the play was called offside by the near-side linesman.

A foul at 30:23 to go in the half allowed the Jackets to have a great opportunity at the goal on a free kick. With a three man wall in front of the 18, Jennifer Larsen (Mesa, AZ) swung her kick wide left of the net for a goal a kick.

The Golden Eagles had a great opportunity in the first half as they moved the ball into the Yellowjackets half of the field and after two passes, Natalie Martin struck the ball with her right boot, and the ball curled toward the right post, but Sabrina Grandke-Bawab (Kirkland, WA) made a sprint to the ball for the save.

The Jackets were outshot in the first half 3-2, and trailed in corner kicks 1-0. Grandke-Bawab made a pair of saves on the two shots on goal CSULA was able to record.

The Jackets suffered a blow early as mid-fielder Carly Valentine went down with a nose injury and had to be removed from the game in the 51st minute. But after being patched up in the training room, Valentine returned to the pitch with cheers coming down from the stands and a momentum boost for the team.

As play resumed, the Seattle skies opened up and the rain started to fall more heavily. The Golden Eagles looked to have a tremendous opportunity when Lauren Anderson (Ridgefield, WA) was issued a Yellowcard at 60:49. The following shot went wide for the Eagles.

Brusics goal came at the 65:39 mark when she took the ball off a Golden Eagle players foot and dribbled the ball to just outside the 18 yard box and lofted a 25 yard shot that found the upper right corner of the net to give the Yellowjackets the 1-0 lead.

It was unreal and special all at the same time,” said Brusic about her goal. It was great timing for my first goal and I wasnt ready to go home yet. My teammates have told me all season that I have a ‘man leg and that if I had a chance to shoot from outside the 18, I should. I knew I was going to take the shot when I got the ball, but when it left my foot, it was like everything was in slow motion.”

The Golden Eagles had another great chance with just 5:07 remaining in the match when the ball squirt through the Jackets defense and a cross from CSULA wound up on the front porch of the Jackets net, but again Grandke-Bawab made a miraculous save to preserve the shutout.

For the match, MSUB was outshot 10-4 in total shots and 6-1 in shots on goal. Grandke-Bawab made a season-high six saves in recording her ninth shutout of the season. There was just one corner kick in the entire match as CSULA held the edge.

The Jackets will now take on a familiar foe in the Falcons of Seattle Pacific University on Saturday afternoon at Interbay Stadium in Seattle. The Falcons won the previous two meeting this season. The match can be seen via live stats through Seattle Pacifics website at: http://www.sidearmstats.com/spu/wsoc/index.htm. The winner will move on to the NCAA Super Regional, hosted by a team in the south central region.