UCI Soccer Halted By Cal Poly in Semi-Finals

All seasons, no matter how good, must come to an end. The UCI women’s soccer team had their 2009 season laid to rest at the hands of number one seed Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at Alex G. Spanos Stadium last Thursday night. The lady Anteaters were shut out by a score of 2-0 and were bounced out of the Big West Tournament in the Semifinals. UCI ended their season with an overall record of 12-7-2 and a league record of 4-4-1 which was good enough for fourth place.

The Anteaters were lucky enough to get into the Big West Semifinals because they finished in a three-way tie with Cal State Fullerton and Pacific for fourth place in the Big West and advanced because of tiebreakers. The luck did not hold out, though, for the semi-final matchup. The game was witnessed by 577 patrons.

Mustang player Kristina Condon-Sherwood took a free kick and sent it into the box where it was headed in by Julianne Grinstead in the 23rd minute to put Cal Poly up 1 nil. Then, fifteen minutes into the second half, Morgan Miller kicked in a ball headed by Carissa Voegele off a corner kick by Condon-Sherwood to give Cal Poly the 2-0 lead and the final score of the game.

The score of the game doesn’t quite match-up with the team’s statistics. Irvine out shot the Mustangs 14-10 and had two more shots on goal than their opponents. UCI junior goalie Danielle de Seriere had four saves on the night while Cal Poly’s goalie, Carol Hoover, had eight. The Mustangs now advance to face the UCSB Gauchos in the Big West Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday.

Coach Scott Juniper was reached for comment on Friday after his team’s last game of the season. He was happy with the way his team performed and was extremely proud of this season.

“They performed great, they played well. We had a lot of chances and we played with a lot of spirit,” Juniper said. “Unfortunately, we conceded two goals and we weren’t able to finish the chances that we created. We played with a lot of heart and I think we can be very proud of ourselves.”

When asked why the game didn’t turn out in UCI’s favor, Juniper responded by saying, “That’s the type of game we play. You can dominate in terms of the statistics and not win the game. You’ve got to score the goals in the important moments and not just create more chances than the other team.” Coach Juniper also reflected on the year and gave some insight to the future of the women’s soccer team at UCI.

“Without a doubt, the season was a huge success for the program because we put 12 wins on the board,” Juniper said. “We beat Santa Barbara 3-0 and beat Long Beach 3-0 in our conference, which were real statements.”

Juniper was also high on other intangibles that developed in the season.

“More than that, the team spirit was something I had not seen before in the four years that I have been here. The team has really developed a sense of pride about playing on this team and playing for this university. That’s something we can be excited about building upon,” Juniper said. “We are only graduating two seniors. We are adding a few freshmen that are going to help us right away. Today is the first day of preparations for the 2010 season.