Destito Carries Rebels Into MWC Championship
Nov. 8, 2007
PROVO, Utah - Senior forward Jessica Destito scored once in each half to lead the top-seeded UNLV women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over fifth-seed Utah in the semifinals of the 2007 Mountain West Women's Soccer Tournament on Thursday afternoon from South Stadium.
"Coming into this tournament, we talked a lot about defending our regular-season championship," said UNLV head coach Katherine Mertz. "Utah has a lot of dangerous players so we knew anything could happen. But we stayed organized and showed everyone why we are the No. 1 seed."
The win improved the Rebels' record to 11-4-5 this season, and advanced them to the championship game for the third-straight season, and fourth overall in school history. UNLV has won the past two MWC tournament titles. Utah meanwhile dropped to 12-5-4.
UNLV was the more aggressive team on offense for the majority of the first half, and that constant attack led to the first goal. The goal was set up by senior forward Katie Carney, who served up a high ball into the box in front of Destito. As Destito went after the ball, a Utah defender collided with goalkeeper Lynzee Lee, and Destito emerged with the ball and quickly shot on the open goal from 20 yards out for the 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. UNLV took the 1-0 lead into halftime, while holding a 6-2 edge on shots.
UNLV kept up the pressure in the second half and scored an insurance goal in the 72nd minute. Destito and Carney again factored in the goal, as Destito passed the ball forward to Carney, but she held back to avoid an offsides call. However, no Ute defender went after the ball, so Destito sprinted ahead, tracked down her own pass and sent a long high lob shot from the right side curved over the outstretched hands of Lee in the 72nd minute.
Utah got on the scoreboard in the 86th minute to cut the lead to 2-1. With a crowd of red and white jerseys bunched in front of the Rebel goal, Katy Reineke sent a corner kick from the right side that fell in front of the goal to be knocked in by Amanda Sanchez from five yards out. The Utes almost tied the score in the final two minutes when Chelsea Card had a hard shot at close range, but UNLV's Alicia Lugo was there to record the save.
Utah finished the game with a 12-10 edge on shots, while both teams took three corner kicks each. Lugo finished with two saves in goal for UNLV, while Lee was credited with five.
UNLV will next face the winner of the No. 2 seed San Diego State - No. 3 seed BYU semifinal game. Saturday's Championship game will begin at 12 pm (PST) and will be televised same-day tape-delay on The Mtn. at 4 pm and tape-delay on CSTV, Nov. 11 at 5 pm. The game will also be streamed live on the UNLVs (www.UNLVRebels.com) Web sites.