Soccer wins Big 12 Championship in dramatic fashion on penalty kicks
SAN ANTONIO -- The seventh-ranked Texas soccer team won its first Big 12 Soccer Championship, defeating the No. 23 Colorado Buffaloes, 5-4 in penalty kicks, after a 1-1 tie, in front of 1,636 fans at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio on Sunday, Nov. 5.
Junior transfer Greta Carter (Arlington, Texas) hit the fifth shot in the shootout, which proved to be the game winner. Sophomore goalkeeper Dianna Pfenninger (Sugar Land, Texas) blocked the fourth attempt, taken by Colorado's Brittany Dornseif to keep Texas alive. CU freshman Nikki Marshall's took the sixth attempt, missing to the left, to give the Longhorns the match and the title.
Junior forward Kelsey Carpenter (Allen, Texas) scored the lone UT goal, 47 minutes, 53 seconds into the game.
"We worked a lot on penalty kicks this week in practice," said Carter. "We knew if we could place the ball, we could win. I was actually nervous because I wasn't in the top five. I don't strike it hard but I work on placing it. You have to be confident that's the biggest part of it all."
"Obviously, today Greta was good," said eighth-year head coach Chris Petrucelli. "Greta had a tough assignment on Friday with Yolando Odenyo from OSU. She's a great defender and a breath of fresh air. Everyone loves her and she's a great person."
The Longhorns' overall record is now 17-3-2 while the Buffs are 12-5-4. The Longhorns are 3-0-2 in overtime matches this year while Colorado tied its fourth match. All three of Colorado's Big 12 Soccer Championship matches went into overtime.
"It's exciting," said Petrucelli. "I'm excited for our team. They played hard all week and fought hard for this. We had the game in hand (after we scored early in the second half) and they got one in late. Colorado is good at coming back and scoring goals late."
Petrucelli won his first Big 12 Soccer Championship, adding to his regular season title from 2001. He picked up his 10th conference championship, adding to the four Big East and four Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) championships that he won with Notre Dame.
Sophomore Kasey Moore (Mission Viejo, Calif.) scored on the first penalty kick, putting the Longhorns ahead 1-0. Sophomore Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas) nailed the second attempt for UT. Senior Priscilla Fite (Irving, Texas) netted the Longhorns' third attempt.
Senior captain Carrie Schmit (La Mesa, Calif.) missed the fourth attempt and CU's Allison Kidd made her shot, giving Colorado a 4-3 lead.
Junior Caitlin Kennedy (Euless, Texas) made her attempt, which tied the score at 4-4.
Pfenninger came up big, blocking the fifth attempt, taken by Colorado's Brittany Dornseif. This set up the shot for Carter, who hit the fifth and final score for UT, leaving it up to the next shooter for CU, Big 12 Freshman of the Year Nikki Marshall.
"Dianna made a huge save on the fifth shot," continued Petrucelli. "We were at the point where if it goes in we're done. We've been taking penalty kicks all week in practice. At that point, you leave the goalkeeper alone. There's no teaching that, you just dive and hope you get it."
Marshall missed the final attempt wide left to give Texas the Big 12 Soccer Championship.
"Marshall is an awesome player," said Petrucelli. "She came out of nowhere and scored a ton of goals this year and earned rookie of the year."
"Colorado played well the entire game," said Petrucelli. "There were dangerous plays on both ends and people just sacrificing their bodies and going all out. It was appropriate for the match to come down to penalty kicks because it was such a good game.
Texas swept the Big 12 tournament honors as Carpenter was named Big 12 Offensive Most Valuable Performer and Pfenninger earned Defensive MVP. Senior Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.) joined Carpenter, Pfenninger and sophomore defender Kasey Moore were named to the Big 12 All-Tournament.
Moore and Pfenninger were named to the team in 2005. Burlingham and Carpenter were recognized for the first time.
UT and Colorado met for the second consecutive season in the Big 12 Tournament. In the 2005 Big 12 Soccer Championships, Colorado ended UT's run at a title with a 3-2 overtime victory.
Carpenter (Allen, Texas) scored the first goal of the match, 47 minutes, 53 seconds into the match, off a pass from Schmit. Carpenter streaked through the middle of the field, passing three CU defenders and setting up a one-on-one with CU goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski. Carpenter took fire at the net and her shot found the inside of the right side of the goal.
"Kelsey is one of the most dangerous forwards in the country," said Petrucelli. "The goal she scored was great. She got a ball, turned and was gone. She put on the afterburners and there was no stopping her."
This marks the first time in tournament history, the Longhorns have gone to penalty kicks to decide a match. Fifth-seeded Colorado upset fourth-seeded Kansas on penalty kicks earlier this week, in the quarterfinal match on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
Colorado tied the match at 1-1- with 11:45 seconds remaining in the second half (78:15). The Buffs' Katie Griffin sent a free kick into the box and Alex Cousins headed it in for the score.
"I don't know that we could have defended the goal much better," said Pfenninger. "They finished that so well. We just had to come off that and keep playing and keep our focus. I'd much rather be scored on by a great finish from seven yards out, than a shot I could have gotten too. It's definitely a bummer that we allowed the goal but we've got to carry on and work for the next shutout."
The UT defense was stellar, allowing one goal in the tournament - the late score in the second period to the Buffs. Cousins' goal was the sixth second-half goal that the UT defense has allowed this year and the first since the match against Iowa State on Oct. 22. Pfenninger registered six saves in her second tie of the year.
"On defense, Kasey played very well," continued Petrucelli. "She was assigned to Marshall. Kasey's stronger and Marshall's faster. There were a few times when Marshall beat Kasey on speed but other than that she defended her very well."
Texas' offense registered 13 shots, six on goal, and took three corner kicks in 110 minutes of play.
Texas had a few opportunities to score, putting together a nice run midway through the first half. Schmit touched the ball at the midfield circle. She passed to senior Priscilla Fite (Irving, Texas) who slide passed the ball to senior Amy Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.) as she ran down the left flank, about 20 yards out. Burlingham crossed the ball into Carpenter, who recorded her first shot on goal of the game, but saw the ball deflect off Radlinski's leg and out of bounds.
Sophomore defender Kasey Moore (Mission Viejo, Calif.) recorded a shot on goal after a foul setup a free kick, 16 minutes into the game. Moore fired a shot into the box where Schmit headed the ball out of bounds.
Moore registered a shot on goal herself, taking a kick from the midfield line that was caught by CU goalkeeper Kirstin Radlinski.
Moore took a second free kick in the final seven minutes of the match. A Colorado defender headed the ball to the left of the goalkeeper and right into Burlingham but she headed the ball just to the left of Radlinski in goal.
Burlingham (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was a part of the attack, taking one of her three shots in the match, but the ball went high over the goal.
Freshman Emily Anderson (Austin, Texas) drew the Colorado defense on a number of trips down the field. The first-year Longhorn, coming off a goal in the Oklahoma State semifinal match, took one shot during the game, although very active in the UT offense. Anderson scored a goal in the semifinal match against Oklahoma State.
Colorado came out on fire in the opening minutes of the match, Colorado freshman Nikki Marshall, the Big 12 leader in goals (16) and points (35) was active in the CU attack. She set up Allison Kidd early in the game and then got inside the box but did not get a shot off. Marshall did not take a shot during the entire match.
The CU offense registered 20 shots, seven on goal, and took five corner kicks in 110 minutes of action.
The Longhorns advanced to the championship match after shutting out Nebraska, 1-0, on Wednesday, Nov. 1 in overtime and blanking Oklahoma State, 2-0, on Friday, Nov. 3.
UT gains the Big 12's automatic berth to the 64-team NCAA Championship. The NCAA teams, seedings, pairings and sites will be announced on Monday, Nov. 6 on ESPNEWS at 2 p.m. (Central).
NOTES: Texas is 13-0-1 when Carpenter records a point in the game... Texas has allowed four goals in the last 10 matches... It marks the second time that a UT soccer player was named offensive tournament MVP (Kelly Wilson - 2001) and defensive tournament MVP (Laura Kram - 2001)... The two MVP selections is the first time UT has notched that honor. Texas A&M swept both honors in 1997 and 2005, Nebraska achieved that feat in 2002, and Oklahoma State in 2003.