Broncos Rally to Defeat Hawai?i 2-1, Clinch WAC Tournament Berth....

Boise State clinches sixth-straight season at .500 or better.

BOISE, Idaho (10-30-2009) - Down one goal at halftime, Boise State University rallied with two second-half goals to defeat the University of Hawai’i 2-1 in a key Western Athletic Conference women’s soccer match in Boise on Friday afternoon. Leading the Broncos were Brandy Hickcox who converted a 67th minute penalty kick to tie the match and Kaylea Perenon who scored the game-winner in the 76th to clinch a berth into next week’s WAC Tournament being held in Boise Thursday thru Sunday, Nov. 5-8.

The match was critical to both teams entering the contest as both had hopes of qualifying for next week’s league championship tournament being held at Boise State’s Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex. A Bronco win would clinch a berth and eliminate Hawai’i, Idaho and Louisiana Tech. A Hawai’i win would mean both the Rainbow Wahine and the Broncos would need to win on Sunday then wait and see what other results would occur before knowing their fates.

The match was tightly contested from the opening touch. Hawai’i took the early lead in the 13th minute when Mari Punzal lobbed a high shot from distance, 35 yards out, that sailed over the head of Boise State’s keeper Liz Ruiz and just under the cross bar for the 1-0 Rainbow Wahine advantage.

That lead held up going into the halftime break with Boise State out shooting Hawai’i eight-to-seven  and four-to-two in shots on goal. The Wahine goalkeeper, Kanani Taaca, kept her side on top making four saves during the opening 45 minutes of action.

The second half continued to be tight with both sides having chances to score. Boise State’s first goal was setup when the Broncos drove into the 18-yard box. Cheyenne Jones played the ball through the defense to Shannon Saxton on the left side of the box. Saxton turned and fired at goal when her shot was blocked. The deflection fell into the path of Jones who volleyed the ball back at goal where it was denied by the keeper. However, the rebound of the save went straight back to Jones who fired a second shot toward the open goal where UH’s Mari Punzal tried to block the ball with her hand put failed as the ball landed in the goal. However, the goal was called off because of the hand ball resulting in a caution on Punzal and a Boise State penalty kick. Brandy Hickcox took the PK for the Broncos beating the keeper with a low shot to the right side tying the contest at one apiece.

The decisive score came in the 76th minute off a Boise State free kick. Following a Hawai’i foul high on the left flank, freshman Maureen Fitzgerald lifted a high arcing kick to the far right side of the Wahine 18-yard box. Boise State’s Chelsea Robinson won the pass then crossed the ball in front of the Hawai’i goal to a waiting Perenon who launched it into the back of the net for the match-winning goal with just over 14 minutes to play.

Boise State’s Ruiz was big in goal during the final period as she recorded five saves to keep her team in the game and give the Broncos a chance to win. At the end of the day Hawai’i out shot Boise State 15-to-14 overall  but they were even in shots on goal with seven apiece.

The win gives the Broncos their fifth straight WAC Tournament berth as they are now qualified for next week’s conference tournament in Boise. It also guarantees Boise State its third-consecutive winning season and sixth straight at .500 over better. The Broncos will now take their 9-6-4 overall and 4-3-0 league records into Sunday’s regular-season finale against WAC leading San Jose State (10-4-3, 4-0-2 WAC) who enters the weekend with a 13-game unbeaten streak. Sunday is senior day as Boise State will honor its three seniors with a short pre-game ceremony, kick-off is scheduled for 1:05 pm (Mountain). Hawai’i falls to 6-11-1 on the year and 2-5-0 in conference.

Final Game Summary (Final)

Hawai’i (6-11-1, WAC 2-5-0) at Boise State (9-6-4, WAC 4-3-0)
10/30/09 at Boise, Idaho
Attendance: 324
Weather: low 50s, overcast

 Goals by period       1  2  Tot
 Hawai’i.............  1  0 -  1
 Boise State.........  0  2 -  2

  1.  12:25 UH Punzal, Mari (2) (Shapka, Kristyn) - shotfrom distance 30 yards, over keeper
  2.  66:50 BSU Hickcox, Brandy (2) Penalty kick
  3.  75:48 BSU Perenon, Kaylea (3) (Robinson, Chelsea;Fitzgerald, Maureen) - scored off cross from 5yds, low to left

 Shots: Hawai’i 15, Boise State 14
 Shots on Goal: Hawai’i 7, Boise State 7
 Saves: Hawai’i 5 (Taaca, Kanani 5), Boise State 6 (Ruiz, Liz 6)

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