DENVER – For the second straight year, the Colorado School of Mines women's soccer team experienced one of the most gut-wrenching finishes in sports as the NSCAA 15th-ranked Orediggers were eliminated by No. 5 UC-San Diego on penalty kicks, 6-to-5, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Championship at Metro State's Auraria Field in Denver.
After exhausting 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime with no scores, the first-time meeting between Mines and UCSD was officially scored as a 0-0 draw, leaving the Orediggers with a final record of 18-4-2 for the season. The shutout was the fifth of this postseason and 15th overall, and kept the school record unbeaten streak intact at 14 straight (12-0-2).
The overtime match was the 10th this season for the Tritons (16-2-4) and fourth straight in postseason play. UCSD advances to the NCAA semifinals in Evans, Georgia against Grand Valley State, the 2009 and 2010 national champion and 2011 national runner-up.
In the shootout, the teams mirrored each other over the first five attempts, each connecting on four kicks. Juniors Kelsey Neal and Bree Archuleta and freshmen Rachael Turner and Deirdre Johnson were all successful on their attempts from the 13-yard stripe for the Orediggers. Shooting first, Mines was unsuccessful in the sixth round, yet remained alive as the Tritons' try deflected harmlessly off the right post.
However, in the seventh bout of kicks, UCSD freshman keeper Kelcie Brodsky turned away her third CSM attempt of the shootout with a diving save to her left and senior Alexa Enlow then followed with the decisive kick to the middle, left net.
The Orediggers outshot the Tritons 19-to-15 for the afternoon and were one better in shots on goals, 8-to-7. Mines had strong looks on goal throughout the entirety of the match with one of the best opportunities coming in the 33rd minute of the first half. Senior Megan Woodworth curled a corner kick to the back post where Neal got a close chance on goal, but her shot was cleared off the line by a well-placed foot of Hayley Johnson.
Mines also caused several anxious moments for UCSD in the second overtime session. The first coming at the 103:34 mark as junior Anna Evans gathered the ball in the left corner of the box, and upon turning towards the net, sent a right-footed strike that caromed off the crossbar.
Just two minutes later, Woodworth placed a shot on frame, yet was denied by a defender for the second team-save of the game for the Tritons.
Turner recorded five shots and two SOG to lead the Oredigger attack, while Woodworth had three of her four shots on goal. Senior Dani Hering added three looks and classmate Aubrey Bagley finished with two attempts on net.
Keeper Jayln Yates collected seven saves and concluded her first year with the program single-season record for shutouts with 11, while her freshman counterpart Brodsky swiped six shots.
Taking part in their last game for the Silver-and-Blue were senior student-athletes Bagley, Amy Hegarty, Hering, Jelli Schira, Becca Morales and Woodworth. The six finished their careers as the winningest class in school history, compiling a combined record of 65-17-11 (0.758) and conference record of 42-12-4 (0.758). Along with piloting Mines to back-to-back RMAC Tournament Championships (2011, 2012), the group played an instrumental role in lifting the eight-year old women's soccer program to national prominence with three quarterfinals appearances and four consecutive berths in the NCAA Tournament.