The USF women’s soccer team fell just short of history on Sunday October 23rd at Negoesco Stadium, taking the Portland Pilots to double overtime before finally conceding the loss. The Pilots are regularly ranked in the top 10 teams in the nation and have a 23-0-1 record against the Dons. The one tie occurred in 2006 as the Dons fought to a 1-1 result in Portland.
The first half of the match was played mostly in the middle of the field with USF only taking one shot and Portland amassing only two. Both defenses played strong and physically as the ball was cleared away over and over again.
During the second half Portland stepped on the gas and started attacking the USF goal relentlessly. Don’s goalkeeper Heather Haney faced 10 shots and 9 corner kicks in second half and tallied seven saves as she kept the shutout into overtime. Within the final ten minutes Portland striker Ellen Parker launched a pair of shots only to be both denied by the Dons.
As the referee blew the whistle after 90 minutes both teams looked exhausted and unprepared for overtime. As an especially young team, San Francisco must have been feeling some pressure as they prepared to battle the highly touted Pilots in overtime.
The first of the two ten minute overtime periods past quickly as both squads looked for the other to make one mistake. During games like this the smallest error in judgment or bad touch on the ball can come back to punish you.
Seconds after the referee blew his whistle to start the second overtime period; Pilot’s striker Kaila Cameli received a pass from teammate Danielle Foxhoven on the left side of the field at the half line. She took the ball herself and ran the remaining 50 yards to goal, sprinting through the USF defense. She dribbled the ball into the left side of the 18-yard box, drew goalkeeper off of her line and slotted the ball past a diving Haney into the bottom right corner of the net. It was Cameli’s fourth goal in Portland’s last three games and her first career game winner.
“They know how to win, they have been there and if you want to win you have to play those teams and see what it takes to get those kinds of results,” said Dons coach Mark Carr.
The Dons return to the Hilltop Thursday October 27th to face new West Coast Conference opponenets Brigham Young University. BYU is coming off a 3-0 win against the Loyola Marymount Lions and is currently in fourth place with a WCC record of 3-1-1.