Oct. 24, 2010

Courtesy of Portland Athletics

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --- Portland's Halley Kreminski broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 79th minute and the No. 2 Pilots would hold off an energized Santa Clara side for a dramatic 1-0 win at Buck Shaw Stadium on a blustery Sunday afternoon. The Pilots, who have now won four straight against the Broncos, extend their West Coast Conference winning streak to 26 games.

Santa Clara was the last team to beat the Pilots in WCC action, a 3-2 final in 2006 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

UP improves to 17-1-0 and controls its own destiny in the WCC with a 5-0-0 league mark. The 12th-ranked Broncos drop to 11-4-2 and to 4-1-0 in the conference.

After the Pilots controlled possession for most of the afternoon, it was Kreminski, a first-half sub, to finally find the back of the net. The play began when junior Danielle Foxhoven fed sophomore Kendall Johnson with a pass in the left wing. Johnson took a touch towards the end-line before sending in a perfectly placed cross in front of the SCU frame. A hard-charging Kreminski leaped to finish with a one-timer inside the left post to give Portland the slim 1-nil lead.

Santa Clara turned up the pressure on the other end, looking for the equalizer. The Broncos hit the cross bar with a shot from the right wing in the 80th minute, and the shot on the rebound from Ellie Rice was wide right.

Then in the 81st minute, the Broncos nearly tied the score on a header from Julie Johnston. But Portland's Taylor Brooke, who was stationed near the right post, was able to block it on the goal-line and preserve Portland's one-goal advantage.

The Pilots would then hold on for the win, giving Kreminski her fourth game-winner of the season. The junior forward has six goals total this fall.

Portland held a 9-8 advantage in shots, with most of SCU's attempts coming late in the second half. UP also had seven corner kicks to Santa Clara's five.

UP goalkeeper Hailey DeYoung was solid between the pipes, picking up her fourth shutout of the season. Santa Clara's keeper Bianca Henninger finished with three saves, while DeYoung made one.

The first half was dominated by Portland as the Pilots easily controlled the run of play and the time of possession. UP had a handful of opportunities in front of the Santa Clara net, with the best chance perhaps coming from Keelin Winters just before the half-time buzzer. Winters forced Henninger to make a diving one-handed save with a strike from the top of the box as time expired.

The Broncos never mounted a serious threat during the first 45 minutes as the Pilots claimed a 6-1 edge in shots and a 5-1 advantage in corners.

In the 65th minute, it appeared momentarily that the Broncos had taken a 1-0 lead when the ball ended up in the back of Portland's net on a Santa Clara free kick. But the play was called off as the Broncos were whistled for a foul when DeYoung was shoved to the ground.

The game was broadcast live nationally on ESPNU.

The Pilots next return home for their final regular season game at Merlo Field. On Sunday, Portland welcomes the San Francisco Dons to the Clive Charles Soccer Complex for a 1:00 p.m. match. Portland will honor its seniors with a pre-game ceremony.