Clayton Scores Late to Notch Tie at UC Irvine
Sept. 21, 2014
BRONCO WOMEN'S SOCCER
"I'm really, really proud of the team," said head coach Jim Thomas. "This is a great tie for us. You look at the way we were coming into this one on a two-game slide against their impressive streak. They were just in a totally different place than us. All in all, I'm really happy with everything we put into and got out of this weekend. We've really shown that we can dig in for that kind of game."
Freshman goalkeeper Janelle Flores was tested again and stood tall for Boise State (3-3-3). Flores faced 15 shots and directed the Bronco defense against nine corner kicks. UC Irvine (4-4-2) put seven shots on goal and Flores made six saves, including one with 20 seconds left in regulation to ensure the match went into extra time.
UC Irvine took the lead in the 64th minute. Jenna Pellegrino corralled a rebound just outside the top of the box, turned and fired a shot to the upper left corner of the goal. The ball snuck past Flores and the Anteaters were on top 1-0. It was the sixth goal the Broncos had conceded since the last time they found the back of the net.
"When you score a lot on a regular basis it can be easy to overreact to a drought," said Thomas. "We're not going to do that around here. I don't really look into issues with goals in small sample sizes. We're trying to do things that will help us over the course of three months, not for two games."
With less than 20 minutes remaining in regulation, the Broncos were staring in the face of their first three-match losing streak under Thomas.
Enter Clayton. The junior who has bounced between defender and forward this season checked in at the 73:43 mark after spending the previous 10 minutes on the sideline. Less than 30 seconds later Mikhaila Bowden found her with a long ball at the top of the Bronco attack. As the Anteater goalkeeper came out, Clayton flicked it over her and between the pipes for her third goal of the season.
Clayton had another chance just a minute later. Brooke Heidemann played a ball up to Clayton after winning it back following the kickoff. Clayton lined up the shot but put it just wide.
Each team put one shot on goal in overtime. It was Clayton with a chance for the Broncos in the first extra period. Flores made her sixth and final save in the 104th minute.
Boise State flashed its depth Sunday, getting big contributions from Allie Cummins and Jenna Clubb. Cummins, making her third appearance of the season, was asked to provide a physical presence in the midfield and contribute in a game that remained in the balance for the first time in nearly a year. She played 21 minutes in the second half and overtime. Clubb only played in overtime, replacing Hailey DeVries when she was shaken up at the beginning of the first overtime period.
"Allie Cummins has really worked hard every single week and done everything we asked of her," said Thomas. "We needed her today and she stepped up huge. That's a testament to this entire squad. Jenna Clubb answered the call at a moment's notice and was more than up for it. Having that depth and readiness from the team members who don't play every minute is a great thing for us moving forward."
The draw brings to a close the Broncos' regular-season nonconference schedule. Thomas said the team was able to achieve one of its goals of accepting and confronting different types of challenges during the early part of the season. The matches against Pepperdine and UC Irvine were two more steps in that growth.
"Both teams we played this weekend put a bunch of pressure on us by pressing the ball and also playing very direct," Thomas said. "We had to dig in and play two quality opponents on the road and against styles of play that aren't necessarily the way we want to play the game. It was a really good learning curve for us headed into conference."
Boise State begins Mountain West play this week with a road trip to Air Force (Friday) and Colorado College (Sunday). The Broncos were picked to finish third in a preseason poll of the conference's coaches. The Falcons (3-4-0) were selected 12th while the affiliate-member Tigers (4-2-2) were picked second. Both matches can be streamed live for free on the Mountain West Network.
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