THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Cal Lutheran women's soccer team has found a way to score when it has counted most this season, and tonight in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinal game, there was no exception to that trend as the Regals defeated Pomona-Pitzer 2-1 at Rolland Stadium.
In two matchups this season the Regals and Sagehens have fought to double-overtime draws and after one half of play, they seemed destined for overtime once more with no team taking control of the game.
The second half proved to be a different story and both teams came out strong offensively.
Pomona-Pitzer had the first opportunity to take the lead in the game when Danika Bethune raced down the left side of the field in the 50th minute. She fired a shot across her body to the right corner of the goal but CLU goalie Kiki Bailey made a terrific diving save to keep the game scoreless.
Just twenty seconds later on the counter attack, Katelyn Kimball found herself in a similar situation on the left side of the pitch but her shot hit off the top of the crossbar.
In the 66th minute, Bianca Deardorff dribbled the ball into the corner, spun around her defender in thrilling fashion, and fired a cross that found Kimball in the box but she could not find her footing on a shot and the Pomona-Pitzer goalie was able to make the stop.
In the 74th minute, Bethune got another chance for the Sagehens and this time she made it count. She took the ball to the middle of the field and from 15-yards away she kicked a line-drive into the top right corner of the goal far out of the reach of Bailey to put Pomona-Pitzer up 1-0.
Almost as soon as the ball was placed back at the center of the field, the Regals raced down with it and Kali Youngdahl lobbed a spectacular cross to Kimball who found herself on the receiving end once again. Kimball would not miss this time and converted the goal for the equalizer.
Now with all the momentum, the Violet and Gold wanted to put the game away and avoid overtime and a potential shootout with the Sagehens.
In the 82nd minute, Youngdahl made sure of that as she skillfully dribbled her way past five defenders in the open field and found Deardorff open on the other side running in to the box. Youngdahl dropped of the pass and Deardorff juked the goalie to leave an open goal for the game-winner.
Both teams were even in shots with eight apiece and CLU held an edge in corner-kicks 3-2. Bailey tallied three saves in the game with two of them requiring full extension to prevent a goal. Kimball led all players with four shots and three shots on goal, and Olivia Leyva added two shots in the game.
In other SCIAC Postseason action, the number four-seed Redlands upset number one-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 1-0 meaning that Cal Lutheran, as the number two-seed, will now host the SCIAC Championship at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 8 at William Rolland Stadium against the Redlands Bulldogs.