Nov. 14, 2009

Cat Walker took a pass from Gretel Amman in the 39th minute and blasted a shot into the net off the right post to lift the 16th-ranked San Diego State women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over San Diego in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday night in Los Angeles. The Aztecs (15-3-5) will meet third-ranked and top-seeded UCLA, a 7-1 winner over Boise State, at 1 p.m. PT Sunday.

SDSU has now won its last eight matches and is unbeaten over its past 16 contests. San Diego State's 15th win of the season is its most since 1999, the third-most in school history and matches its previous total from the past two seasons combined. It was also the Aztecs' first NCAA tournament win since 1998.

Walker's second consecutive game-winner came when she took Amman's pass and fired a laser off the right post and into the net as Torero (12-7-2) goalkeeper Courtney Parsons had no chance on the play.

USD had the first chance of the scoring opportunity in the fourth minute but Natalie Venti's attempt from just outside the box was directly at SDSU goalkeeper Aubree Southwick.

San Diego State's first good chance came in the 17th minute when a player was taken down about 30 yards out. Hayley Marsh took the kick that was originally knocked down by the San Diego wall. Marsh shot the rebound, too, but the attempt was deflected and desperately cleared out by a defender.

Walker almost made it 2-0 for the Aztecs in the 44th minute but her close shot missed wide left.

In the second half, USD's Stephanie Ochs had her first of many good chances in the 52nd minute but she pushed her shot wide left of the frame from about 15 yards. In the 57th minute, Ochs had a better look after beating a SDSU player to turn and face the net. Her shot from outside the box, however, sailed well over the crossbar.

In between Ochs' two good opportunities was an even better one for San Diego State's Sarah Halverson in the 53rd. Halverson took a cross from the right side and ripped a half-volley that just missed the near post.

In the 64th minute, the Aztecs' Marsh got off a long attempt but it went right at Parsons.

The play was back and forth for the remainder of the game with each team getting off a few non-threatening long shots before the scoreboard hit 0:00, giving SDSU the 1-0 victory.

Although USD had more shots than San Diego State (14-7), only four were on net.

The program's all-time leader in saves, Southwick made four stops for her 10th shutout of the season (0.5 short of the school record) and got tremendous help from the Aztec defense. Led by starters Marsh, Amman, Rachael McGlinchy and Megan McQueeny, and reserve Tiffany Hurst, the defense put together another strong effort. The five limited San Diego's offense, which came into the match averaging 1.60 goals per game, to just four shots on net, all right at Southwick and many from long range. The group also won the majority of the 50-50 balls in the air to preserve the shutout.

Marsh had three shots from the back to pace the offense, while Walker, who was guarded closely for most of the game, had two attempts. Halverson and Jessica Gordon also each got off a shot for SDSU.

San Diego State will put its 16-game unbeaten streak and eight-match winning streak on the line against the Bruins (18-2-1) on Sunday. UCLA has advanced to six consecutive final fours.