THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.– Less than one minute into the first overtime period, freshman Janelle Gutierrez scored a classy goal, curling her shot into the back of the net to give Cal Lutheran the 1-0 victory over Chapman to send her team to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Championship.
"I thought we had some great chances early, we hit the crossbar twice in the first half," said Head Coach Frank Marino. "Give Chapman's keeper credit, she made a couple really good saves. We kept grinding and for the last 15 minutes, we were all over them."
The Regals would prove to be the much better team in the contest, outshooting the Panthers 10-6 in the contest, but could not find the opening goal due to some poor luck in the attacking third. CLU struck the crossbar twice in the first 45 minutes as they were clicking on all cylinders from the opening kickoff.
The Cal Lutheran defense put in another fantastic performance when they needed it most as Katie Weaver and Zandra Stewart delivered some vital tackles in their own third to preserve the team's ninth shutout of the season. Aly Legrand also had a great game at left back, stifling attacks out wide while managing to maintain possession many times throughout the match. Trinity Martinez was solid defensively, but was more productive on the offensive end as she often got involved in the attack.
The first scoring chance for the Regals came in the 14th minute when Danielle Vis hit a volley from outside the box and unfortunately saw her effort get tipped on to the crossbar by the Chapman goalkeeper and loft out of play for a corner.
Less than 10 minutes later, Martinez stepped up to take a free kick and blasted her shot off the crossbar. The Regals were unlucky to not score despite creating many good chances.
The teams would head into the break level at 0-0 as Chapman managed to play well on the defensive end to keep Cal Lutheran off the board.
Sam Cornejo came off the bench and was very productive on the right wing to start the second half. The junior forward creating many opportunities and whipped a few stellar crosses that the Regals couldn't quite finish.
Cal Lutheran thought they had the winner in the 82nd minute when Alexandra Fagerberg did well to get her body in front of a clearance by the Chapman goalkeeper. The ball bounced awkwardly off the forward's leg and nearly found its way into the back of the net but unfortunately struck the woodwork yet again.
The game would head to overtime with the scoreless draw still intact, a goal sending their team through to the final.
The Regals came out lively to start the first overtime period and instantly created the goal-scoring chance that gave them the victory. Fagerberg received the ball at the top of the box and blasted a shot with her right foot. Her shot was blocked, but luckily it would bounce right back to her. The Austin, Texas native kept her composure and slipped an excellent ball to Gutierrez, who expertly curled her right-footed shot into the top right corner of the net to give Cal Lutheran the win. This was the freshman's fourth goal of the season and third in her last three games.
"We got in the huddle and said 'We've got to finish this game'," Marino said. "That was a first-class goal to win the game. [Fagerberg] kept her composure after the block and Janelle's finish was class. That's how you want to win a game."
Gabby Flores got her first start of the season between the posts for CLU and kept a clean sheet, making four saves on the night.
No. 2 Cal Lutheran will head to No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer to compete for the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, Nov. 9 at 12 p.m.
Box Score: CLU 1, CU 0
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#
W Soccer IG: @regals_soccer
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
W Soccer Twitter: @CLUwSoccer
Hashtags: #clusports #ownthethrone #goregals #gokingsmen #theSCIAC #ncaad3
Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director