The UC Irvine women’s soccer team suffered a close 2-1 defeat by Cal State Fullerton in double overtime on Friday night at Titan Stadium. The match was the first in the Big West Tournament in which the winner of the tournament would advance to the NCAA Tournament.
UCI opened the scoring in the 80th minute when freshman Nikki Forrest buried a shot into back of the net.
The Titans would respond seven minutes later when Brianna Buffington shot just out of the reach of freshman keeper Danielle de Seriere’s hands in the 87th minute.
The game then went into the first of its 10-minute overtime periods. The biggest threat against the
Anteaters was in the sixth minute when de Seriere found herself in a one-on-one situation with Buffington.
Fortunately, Buffington’s shot was sent just wide of the net, and the Anteaters escaped that period.
Cal State Fullerton is the top team in the Big West.
The Anteater 1-0 loss to Fullerton a week ago was an encouraging result. The match proved to the Anteaters, and the skeptics, that they could compete with the best.
The Anteaters took confidence and knowledge into this match, and they defiantly showed it in their hard-fought play.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the Anteaters as Fullerton finally put away a valiant Anteater squad at the 104:10 mark in the second overtime period.
The Anteaters were one of the worst squads in the Big West last season. One could count how many games the Anteaters scored in the Big West on one hand.
This season, in Head Coach Scott Juniper’s first season, the Anteaters looked like a completely different squad. Juniper attributes the success to fruition of the player’s knowledge of the system.
That and the play of freshmen like Caty Cope, Tanya Taylor, Forrest and de Seriere have made the program excited for the future.
‘The 2007 team was comprised of a core of determined returners and a supporting cast of some exciting freshmen. We overcame many challenges during the season and through those moments of adversity we got stronger as the season progressed. Ultimately, we fell at the final fence in conference and that just makes us more determined to go further in 2008,’ Juniper said.