Nov. 13, 2009

Courtesy Cal State Dominguez Hills Athletics

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- What a difference five days make.  After falling 4-0 to Cal State L.A. in the CCAA Title game last Sunday, 4th-seeded Cal State Dominguez Hills rebounded in a big way with a 4-1 win over 5th-seeded Dixie State in the NCAA West Sub-Regional, hosted by Cal State L.A.  Sophomore sensation Jessica Murphy was the difference after scoring twice and assisting on a second half score.

The win for the 15th-ranked Toros sets up an All-CCAA sub-regional final against  CCAA Champion and 9th-ranked Cal State L.A. on Sunday, with first kick set for 12 noon on Jesse Owens Track.

"We came out with an early goal and that got our confidence going, and Jessica had key goals to give us the win," said head coach Joe Flanagan.

Looking forward to Sunday's match-up, Flanagan said "CSULA obviously plays with a different style than Dixie, so we will have to come up with a different plan.  We saw them Sunday, so that helps.  Bottom line, we just have to come up with a better effort against them."

Murphy, a two-time 1st-team All-CCAA selection, wasted little time in getting the Toros on the board as she took a feed from Lexi Ford 15 yards out and to the left of Red Storm keeper Tonya Smith and beating her far post just six minutes into the contest.

The Red Storm, however, winners of the Pacific West Conference, answered just six minutes later as Carly Haycock sent a 30-yard floater that drifted off keeper Alyssa Congdon's reach, and into the back of the Toro net for the equalizer.

That's where the score remained until just over 5 minutes left in the first half when Yadira Gomez sent a cross to Makenzie Pedrotti in the mouth of the Red Storm goal, whose header beat Smith near post to regain the lead for the Toros at 2-1.

Murphy then added her second goal of the half with just 30 ticks left in regulation, collecting a feed from Natalie Moreno and floating her shot over Smith and into the uncontested goal.

The Torrance native continued her offensive mind-set after the break as she collected a loose ball down the right side of the field, and sent a 45-degree angle cross to a waiting Brooke Thompson, who tapped in her shot for the uncontested goal and a 4-1 lead at the 69:32 mark.

"They weren't really man-marking me, so our coaches told me to take it to them," said Murphy.  "Our team just brought it today, we had a good warm up and everything was clicking in practice.  We realized what we needed to change, and today we connected and played as a team.

"Sunday's going to be huge," Murphy continued.  "We don't want to stop here.  We know what we have to do to beat them.  We're excited, and we're definitely going to bring it."

CSUDH out-shot the Red Storm 16-11, while tallying a 3-1 edge in corners.  Congdon finished with 2 saves while counterpart Smith was credited with 3 saves.

The Toros, now 14-8-1, will look to continue the trend set earlier this regular season, falling 3-0 to CSULA but then rebounding with a 1-0 win.  This Sunday, however, the losers will see their 2009 campaign end.  First kick between the cross-town rivals is set for 12 noon.