Cowgirls Find Game Winner in 104th Minute
Oct. 5, 2014
BRONCO WOMEN'S SOCCER
BOISE, Idaho--Wyoming scored the only goal of the match in the 104th minute for a double-overtime victory Sunday, against Boise State in Mountain West women's soccer action. The Broncos put four shots on goal in the second half and a Shannon Schueren free kick hit the crossbar in the first overtime period before the Cowgirls claimed the sudden-victory tally in the second extra period.
Wyoming (5-6-1, 3-1-0 MW) took 19 shots in the match, putting seven on target. Boise State (4-6-3, 1-3-0 MW) got off 11 shots with eight coming after halftime, including all four shots on goal.
"Wyoming was great today," said head coach Jim Thomas. "They were the better team, they did what they came here to do and they deserved to win. They did it better than what we came here to do. It ended up with them having more shots on goal and more dangerous situations. We had enough to win. We're certainly not a volume shooting team, so if we get into double figures in opportunities to score we expect to score a couple of them."
Boise State freshman goalkeeper Janelle Flores made six saves in the match, including a sterling stop in the 103rd minute to keep the Broncos alive. Wyoming pushed up field and found Candace Sciberras on the left side of the box. Sciberras wound up and fired a strike against the grain to the right post. Flores dove across the face of goal and caught the ball in midair before it could find the back of the net.
About 90 seconds later, the Cowgirls were threatening again. A series of attempted crosses into the box were blocked by Bronco defenders. Eventually the ball was resting on the right wing and Wyoming's Sammi Dunda won a footrace, lofting a pass into the box. Flores came off her line to corral the cross. When she leapt for it eight yards out from the goal, she collided with a Bronco defender back pedaling to clear the pass herself. The ball landed at the feet of Kaitlyn Lomsnes who took a touch and drove it to the left post. Dominique Banks was standing on the line and made a last-gasp effort to head the ball out, but it just eluded her.
"She's a young, aggressive goalkeeper," said Thomas. "I hate losing games and I don't want to lose games over mistakes, but it's part and parcel of having a freshman goalkeeper in there. She makes a wonderful save that very few keepers in our conference can make and then she makes an error. Ultimately we have one of our better players make an aggressive play that didn't go her way. I have no beef against her. She's saved us as many times as anybody else out there. In the grand scheme of things, as long as she learns a lesson about how flatter passes and flatter crosses that are more direct in nature are more difficult to claim then we can still gain something from a tough result."
Boise State's three previous overtime affairs this season ended in a draw. Wyoming is now 1-2-1 in overtime matches this year.
It looked as if Boise State may come up with its first overtime victory of the year in the first extra period. Schueren lined up for a free kick from 45 yards away and played it over the top of the goalkeeper. It would have been good from 46, as the ball dropped a hair too late and smacked off the crossbar. Brooke Heidemann had a look at a rebound, but sent it high.
Aside from a pair of very dangerous crosses in the first half that failed to find the right foot, all of Boise State's scoring opportunities came late as the Broncos continued to dissect what Wyoming was throwing at them.
"They were mirroring whatever system we ran," said Thomas. "At that point you just need to set up the correct matchup, execute that matchup and you're going to be in good shape. We were unable to execute that matchup when it counted."
Boise State put three shots on goal in the final 15 minutes of regulation, including a pair of header attempts. In the 76th minute, Kelli Drobney turned on a loose ball at the top of the box and rolled it to Wyoming keeper Alex Boehm. In the 80th minute the Broncos played a ball from deep in the right corner back to midfield and all the way across the field to KT Clayton who delivered a perfect ball over the top to Heidemann. On a dead sprint, Heidemann made it behind the last defender and put her head on the end of the pass, but hit Boehm in the chest. Kayla Tucker had a nearly-identical opportunity with one minute left in regulation, but again the header wound up in the arms of Boehm.
Aside from the long passes over the top, the Broncos wore out the right sideline, as the outside backs fed forwards making runs to the corner flag. Boise State was unable to connect the crosses in the box.
"In the second half we had a better setup of faster forwards against a slower back line in an exposed space," Thomas said. "We utilized that to get in behind them and it created a lot of great situations for us. As the game wore on we felt like we could have success by dragging a center back into the flank and using our pace to run at them. We played faster players just for that reason. We didn't execute it well, though. We didn't take advantage of the scenarios they were giving us. As we get through the rest of this season and progress as a program, those things are integral. The players need to understand that possession is a wonderful thing to do, but it has a purpose. The purpose is to figure out how we're going to score goals. Sometimes that means we're going to completely bag passing laterally and go directly forward."
All match long the Cowgirls pressured the Broncos. Wyoming held an 8-3 shot advantage in the first half, putting three on target while the Broncos failed to tally a shot on goal. The Cowgirls, who scored seven goals in their first two conference matches, used counter attacks to produce advantages in numbers and had great success completing passes down the center of the field.
"When push comes to shove, we have to find a way to make those situations tilt in our favor by executing what we're looking for a little bit better," Thomas said. "By recognizing their strongest suit and making them beat us with options B, C or D. We didn't do that. Their best moments were counter-attack opportunities that were more direct in nature. They have two phenomenal young forwards who are incredibly fast and put our center backs under a lot of pressure and we didn't solve that problem."
The spine of Boise State's back line was up to the challenge throughout regulation. Mikhaila Bowden and Hailey DeVries made big tackle after big tackle to stop Cowgirl attacks and win the ball back for Boise State. DeVries constantly held off charging forwards and bodied up with bigger midfielders. Bowden put her body in front of every ball within reach. They both flashed their well-rounded games, dribbling out of trouble and leading counter attacks on multiple occasions. Bowden was unable to play the overtime periods after taking a big hit near the end of regulation.
"Hailey and Mikhaila were warriors today," said Thomas. "To a certain degree I feel worse for them with what they did put forward. The message that came from the staff all week was the need for a collective emotional commitment and a collective physical commitment. When you see your two center backs laying everything on the line to block everything that comes at them, there's a big question mark about what's happening with the six players in front of them as to why it's getting that far down the pitch that often. That's a question we're going to have to answer."
The Broncos will look to find that answer during another week of training ahead of two more home conference matches. Boise State hosts Fresno State Friday, and San José State Sunday, at Boas Soccer Complex.
Watch a replay of the full match. Jim Thomas postgame interview at end.
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