Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Soccer team pulled off the biggest upset in program history Thursday night as they earned an upset win over top ranked Cal Lutheran University 3-2 in OT.
The Poets had to go on the road to pick up their biggest win on the season as they earned a spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship Game. This game will take place this Saturday, November 4 at No. 2 Pomona-Pitzer beginning at 12:00pm.
Whittier came into the SCIAC Post season ranked No. 4 and had to faceoff against the top seeded Regals of Cal Lutheran University who posted a 15-2-2, 11-1-2 SCIAC record going in and were Nationally Ranked No. 20. WC was riding a two game losing skid going into the match-up, which included a loss in their regular season finale to Cal Lutheran (2-0).
The game started off physical in the first half with a combined 15 fouls being called, which included a yellow card being issued to CLU's Alexandra Albaeck for an aggressive challenge. The Poets though were only able to get off one shot in the first 45:00 but saw the defensive unit stand strong as they kept the game scoreless limiting the Regal opportunities.
In the second half, despite outshooting CLU 7-3, the Poets saw themselves trailing 1-0 in the 50th minute as Sam Cornejo was able to steal the ball away from Poet keeper Layla Matar (Glendale, Calif.) burying the go-ahead goal.
Two minutes later though the Poets responded as Lauren Kai (Torrance, Calif.) took a ball deep into CLU territory before sending a cross into the box, which found Miranda Yzabal (Whittier, Calif.) back post for the equalizer.
The momentum however shifted back with the Violet and Purple in the 66th minute when Cornejo capitalized on a mishandle by Matar in the box who slid out for the pick-up but couldn't hold onto the ball allowing the CLU forward to tap in the easy go-ahead strike.
A physical sequence of events occurred in the 74th minute, which led to a twist in the action. Albaeck was shown her second yellow for a violent kick mid-air without the ball and due to a previous caution was ejected from the game with a red forcing CLU to play a man-down. The Poets capitalized on this advantage soon after as Andrea Aldama (Gardena, Calif.) would find space out on the wing sending in a long lob from outside the box that found the back left corner of the goal that again deadlocked the game.
Over the final ten minutes the Poets scrapped getting another two looks on goal from Clarissa Field (Whittier, Calif.) and Leah Kolek (Diamond Bar, Calif.) but both would be turned away by Regal keeper Gabby Flores sending the game into extra time.
Whittier wasted very little time in the first OT period as they gained possession early and found an opening on the wing again from Aldama who put in a nice lob into the box, which was mishandled by Flores. The ball would slip through her hands and as she turned to fall on the ball to deny the goal, it was too late as it would cross the crease giving the Poets the upset road victory.
Matar picked up the win picking up two saves over 92:41. Whittier and Cal Lutheran both took eight shots but CLU held the advantage on corner kicks at 5-1.
Field, Kai, and Aldama led the offense with two shots apiece.