Rebels Stun No. 19 BYU In MWC Semifinals
Nov. 2, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Behind the stellar play of freshman goalkeeper Alicia Lugo, UNLV (9-10-2) pulled off the surprise of the tournament, topping second-seed and 19th ranked BYU (13-2-4) in a penalty kick shootout 4-1 in the semifinals of the Mountain West Women's Soccer Championships on Thursday afternoon from Ute Field.
The game officially ended in a double-overtime scoreless tie, but the third-seeded Rebels advanced off the PK shootout win to play in their second straight MWC title game. UNLV now has the chance to defend its 2005 tournament title as it will meet the winner of the New Mexico-Utah game on Saturday at 11 am in the championship game. The game will be shown tape-delayed on CSTV at 8 pm (PST), while the CSTV broadcast will also be streamed live on the internet, and available via a link on the UNLV athletic website (www.UNLVRebels.com).
"You have to hand it to BYU, they are a dangerous team," said UNLV Head Coach Kat Mertz. "But, I think we were a cohesive unit from front to back and played really well. I was very confident with (Alicia) Lugo in the goal. She's agile and quick and reads the shooters well."
BYU controlled the flow of the game for the majority of the first half, and held a 12-5 edge on shots in the first half. The Rebels escaped what was almost a certain goal for BYU, when Cougar Alyssa Vander Veur unloaded a shot that caught Lugo out of position in the 35th minute, but Dani Davis was in position to make the team save on the goalline and keep the game scoreless.
UNLV started to enforce its offense move in the second half however, especially in the last 10 minutes. Both teams played strong defense in the two overtime periods, with UNLV getting off two shots in the first overtime, and one by BYU, while neither team recorded a shot in the second extra period, setting up the shootout situation.
UNLV's Katie Carney put the ball in the goal on the first penalty kick. Lugo then stoned BYU's Andrea Willis, but it was ruled that Lugo wasn't stationary when Willis made her kick, giving Willis a second attempt. Lugo then calmly knocked Willis' second shot down , giving the Rebels a 1-0 advantage.
"I was feeling it on the first one, I was feeling that I was going to block this one, and it only takes one PK to be stopped to win a game, and when they called me back, I thought ok, maybe it takes two," said Lugo on blocking Willis' PKs twice.
UNLV's Brie Kuhne then scored over Cougar keeper Erika Woodbury. Lugo got a piece of Brooke Bowman's second shot, which went off the crossbar and the Rebels led 2-0 in the five-shot shootout. Both UNLV's Shannon Hughes and BYU's Katie Larkin scored in the third round of penalty kicks to make it, 3-1 in favor of UNLV.
Rebel team captain Tanya Roberts was the fourth UNLV player to enter the shootout. She put the ball past Woodbury's outstretched right hand, putting the Rebels into the championship game.
"I was just thinking of scoring, and putting the ball in the back of the net," said Roberts. "I knew that if I score it we win, so I was feeling the pressure, but was able to get it past their goalie."
BYU finished the game with a 22-14 edge, though the Rebels owned a slight 9-8 edge on corner kicks. Lugo finished the game with four saves, while Woodbury was credited with five as both keepers earned a shutout.
UNLV will now play in its third overall MWC championship game. The Rebels lost to BYU 2-1 in the 2001 title game, and posted a 1-0 overtime win over New Mexico in the 2005 championship final, with both tournaments being held in Las Vegas.