Late goals by Jones and Saxton rally Broncos past Nevada 3-2, Boise State clinches berth into WAC Tournament?

BOISE, Idaho (10/28/07) A pair of freshmen Cheyenne Jones and Shannon Saxton combined for two late goals to rally the Broncos past Nevada for a 3-2 victory Sunday afternoon in Boise. After surrendering a 1-0 halftime lead with two quick Nevada goals to start the second period, the Broncos rallied with Jones’ third goal of the season, assisted by Saxton, in the 74th minute. Nine minutes later Saxton netted the match-winner and her 15th goal of the season when she scored from16 yards out in the 83rd minute. The WAC victory keeps the Broncos on top of the league standings and clinches a berth into the conference tournament being held in Boise Nov. 8-11.

It was senior day for the Broncos as they closed their home schedule with the Wolf Pack. Boise State playing in only their fifth home match of the season wore pink uniforms for the contest in recognition of breast cancer awareness month.

Nevada gave the Broncos a scare early with two quick shots on goal by Blaine Duggen and Miranda Montejo. Fortunately, Boise State’s senior goalkeeper Michaela Morrison was up to the challenge denying both opportunities.

After the initial on slot by the Wolf Pack, Boise State started the scoring early in the first period with an attack down the left flank. Erin Wofford led the charge for the Broncos as she drove the ball into the corner. The senior then turned down the endline where she sent a high cross over the defense to the far side of the 18-yard box. Waiting for the cross was senior Samantha Gambala who headed the ball inside the right post from seven yards out for the go ahead goal with 9:38 gone in the match. It was Gambala’s second career goal coming in her final home match.

Neither team managed to score again in the final 35 minutes of the first period as the keepers stopped every attack on their goals. Boise State saw attempts by Wofford (two), Saxton, and Natalie Griffin miss the target, while Nicole Tadman had a header denied by Nevada’s keeper Marie Cove. Nevada had chances by Montejo and Vanessa Mann sail wide or high, while the Broncos’ Morrison stopped a shot on goal by Alyx Sacks in the 37th minute.

The second half started with a fired up Nevada squad forcing the action into the Boise State defensive third resulting in two quick Wolf Pack goals that came two minutes apart. The first strike came when Cristen Drummond fed Jessica Thompson the ball down the center. The Boise State defense miss played the pass resulting in a one-v-one chance for Thompson with the Bronco keeper. Thompson won the battle by sending a low shot to the right post beating the charging Morrison with 6:47 gone in the half.

After tying the score at one all, Nevada wasted little time in taking the lead less than two minutes later on a goal in the 54th minute. This time the Wolf Pack drove down the left side where Karen Zmirak sent a cross into the Bronco 18-yard box. The ball was greeted at the near post by Jill Erickson who headed it inside the left post to give Nevada a 2-1 lead with 31 minutes to play.    

Both teams continued to challenge the others defense as the Broncos took three shots at the Wolf Pack goal in the next 20 minutes with strikes by Kaylea Perenon and Wofford sailing wide while Saxton sent one on goal that was denied by Nevada’s keeper.

After a few close calls, the Broncos continued to push forward looking for the tying goal. Freshman Cheyenne Jones came through for Boise State in the 74th minute.  The play began with Shannon Saxton driving through the Wolf Pack defense and into the 18-yard box. As the defense closed in on the freshman Saxton touched the ball to the left side where Jones was waiting unmarked. She immediately shot the ball with a quick one touch strike that beat the keeper to the near post knotting the score at 2-2 with 16:57 remaining in the contest.

With the score tied at 2-2 and time running out Boise State continued to force the action into the Nevada third. The Broncos sent four more shots towards the Wolf Pack goal on a header by Danielle Schwalbe that just sailed wide, another Jones chance that missed high by inches over the crossbar, followed by a second Schwalbe attempt that barely missed wide of the mark, and finally a hard Saxton shot that was blocked.

Then in the 83rd minute the Broncos went too their go to player Shannon Saxton for the decisive score. Boise State attacked down the right flank with Wofford driving into the Nevada defensive third where she played a through ball to Saxton as she broke towards goal. Saxton raced past one defender reaching the ball first for an open shot at goal. With cool and calm the Beaverton, Ore. native sent the winning strike past the keeper from 16 yards out giving the Broncos the one goal lead with 7:40 remaining in regulation.

The Broncos nearly extended their lead three minutes later off a corner kick. Senior Sophie Parrish sent the corner kick from the right side into the box where it was deflected by a defender to the right. Saxton ran onto the ball and fired a shot from a severe angle past the keeper. However, as the ball rolled towards the open goal Nevada’s Erin Smith raced to it denying the goal by clearing away it from danger with 4:02 left on the clock. That was the last chance by either team to score as Boise State claimed the one goal victory.

After Nevada’s initial drive to open the second period with two quick goals, Boise State held the Wolf Pack to one shot in the final 31 minutes. Meanwhile, the Broncos took 10 shots of their own in the same time span, scoring on two. On the day, Boise State outshot Nevada 17 to eight and six to five in shots on goal.     

The victory improves the Broncos to 8-5-3 overall and 4-0-1 in WAC play. They remain on top of the league standings and have clinched a spot in next month’s conference tournament in Boise. They can finish no lower than fourth place entering the final weekend of the regular season. Boise State will close the season this coming weekend with crucial matches on the road at Hawaii (11-4-2, WAC 4-1-0) on Friday and at San Jose State (4-12-2, WAC 2-3-0) on Sunday.  Nevada fell to 6-9-1 overall and 2-4-0 in league.

Soccer Game Summary (Final)
Nevada vs Boise State (Oct 28, 2007 at Boise, Idaho)

 Nevada (6-9-1, 2-4-0) vs. Boise State (8-5-3, 4-0-1)
 Date: Oct 28, 2007  Attendance: 417
 Weather: 53 degrees and sunny

 Goals by period       1  2  Tot
 Nevada..............  0  2 -  2
 Boise State.........  1  2 -  3
  1.   9:38 BSU Gambala, Samantha (Wofford, Erin) - Header off of cross from #4
  2.  51:47 NEV Thompson, Jessica (Drummond, Cristen) - Off of free kick.
  3.  53:10 NEV Erickson, Jill (Zmirak, Karen) - Off of Free kick.
  4.  73:03 BSU Jones, Cheyenne (Saxton, Shannon) - Off of cross from #13.
  5.  82:20 BSU Saxton, Shannon (Wofford, Erin) - Goal from 16yds.

 Shots: Nevada 8, Boise State 17
 Shots on goal: Nevada 5, Boise State 6
 Saves: Nevada 3 (Cove, Marie 2; TEAM 1), Boise State 3 (Morrison,
 Michaela 3)



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