UC San Diego holds off GVSU push, advances to championship game
EVANS, Ga. -- UC San Diego got goals from sophomores Cassie Callahan and Izzy Pozurama and held on for a 2-1 victory against Grand Valley State in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II women's soccer tournament and advances to play in the national championship game on Saturday.
With the win, UCSD improved to 17-2-4, stretching its unbeaten streak to nine matches. On Saturday, the Tritons will be vying for their eighth national crown under 26th-year head coach Brian McManus, and first since 2001. UCSD will take on West Florida.
The Lakers ended their season 20-2-3.
Neither team netted a goal in the first half but a mere 28 seconds after the second-half whistle, UCSD was on the board. The Tritons earned a throw-in on the left side, taken by senior Alexa Enlow. The action swung from Pozurama to senior Gabi Hernandez, whose deft layoff put Callahan on the ball as she shot a 20-yard shot over the head of goalkeeper Chelsea Parise.
At 60:56, senior Jessica Wi crossed from her right wing to Callahan at the back post near the end line, and Callahan headed back across into the middle, where Pozurama tapped in her own header from the six-yard box for her ninth goal of the season and a commanding 2-0 advantage.
GVSU pulled within one at 80:58 as Charlie Socia's hard shot from distance was tipped off the crossbar by freshman Triton goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky, but fell to senior forward Ashley Botts, who scored into the upper netting for her team-best 18th goal of the year.
Though the Lakers pressed from their for an equalizer, and came close, they were unable to find one as the Tritons avoided the prospect of a fifth consecutive overtime contest this postseason and advanced to their second national final in three seasons.
Brodsky finished with eight saves, while Parise made all four of her stops in the first half.