Nov. 20, 2009

Courtesy of California (Pa.) Athletics

The No. 23 Vulcans continued their historic run in the 2009 NCAA Division II Tournament by advancing to the national quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over rival IUP on Friday in the Atlantic Regional Championship.

The California University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team will now face No. 2 Saint Rose (N.Y.) on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m. on the campus of Siena in Loudonville, N.Y. The Golden Knights (23-0-0), who were one of only three undefeated teams remaining in the tournament entering play on Friday, earned a 1-0 win over No. 20 Franklin Pierce (N.H.) to advance to the quarterfinal round. The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the NCAA Semifinals in Tampa, Fla.

This year, the Vulcans have won a school record 19 games, captured their first-ever Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West title and earned the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship for the first time. Prior to this season, Cal U had never made an appearance in either the PSAC or NCAA Tournaments.

The Vulcans (19-5-1) took a 1-0 lead against the Crimson Hawks in the 15th minute when freshman Kayla Fransko (Monongahela, Pa./Ringgold) scored her second goal of the year off a cross from sophomore Erin Feltz (Munhall, Pa./Steel Valley). With a 1-0 lead, Cal U continued its offensive pressure in the first half by out-shooting IUP by an 8-1 margin.

After the break, senior forward Amanda Heister (Palmyra, Pa./Northern Lebanon) – the PSAC West Athlete of the Year – added an insurance goal at the 55:05-mark off a pass from Fransko. With the goal, Heister is now tied with Hall of Famer Sherry Valera (1994) for the most goals in a season with 19.

The Crimson Hawks attempted to cut into the deficit with a pair of shots in a four-minute span, beginning at the 64:12-mark. However, sophomore goalkeeper Paula Jackson (Kingston, Jamaica/Wolmer's Trust) made two critical saves to preserve the shutout. IUP’s final offensive pressure came in the 84th minute when it attempted a corner kick before the Cal U defense cleared the ball without a shot attempt.

Jackson registered two saves on six shots to earn her 12th shutout of the year and third of the post-season. In the loss, IUP sophomore Kelly Brennan finished with seven saves in 90 minutes of play.

For the game, the Vulcans held a 14-6 advantage in shots while the Crimson Hawks posted a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.

Cal U won all three games against rival IUP (14-7-2) this year by a combined score of 8-1.