With members of the 2002 National Championship team in attendance, Pilots lose against San Diego State as the team heads into WCC play
By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
In the midst of celebrating the 2002 National Championship team, the current women's soccer team showed they are not quite at that level. The no. 23 Pilots lost to the no. 8 San Diego State University Aztecs 3-2 despite a fierce competition.
Fifteen members of the 2002 National Championship team were at the game when the team was honored during halftime. The team went 20-4-1 that year, tying UP's win record and won the NCAA Women's College Cup against the Santa Clara Broncos 2-1. Christine Sinclair, who was a forward at Portland as well as a forward on the Canadian Olympic soccer team in the 2012 Summer Olympics, was one of the alumnae in attendance Sunday. Sinclair scored the game-winning goal of the Championship game in second overtime. This was the first National Championship title for the Pilots. They would go on to win again in 2005.
The game on Oct. 7 was a physical, offensive battle. In the first 28 minutes, four goals were scored. SDSU scored two goals in the first 18 minutes of the game. It took the Pilots eight minutes after that to score on a penalty kick by junior forward Amanda Frisbie. Frisbie is now the team leader in goals scored this season with seven goals. Only two minutes later, senior defender Taylor Brooke scored the Pilot's second goal off a corner kick from junior midfielder Michelle Cruz.
A noticeable aspect of this game was the physicality. There was pushing by both teams, as a total of 19 fouls were called between the two teams, but no cards were given out.
"We just needed to bring the energy out and bring the game to them," Frisbie said.
With a tied score, the Pilots went into the second half knowing they essentially had a new game to play and focused on trying to get ahead.
However, the Pilots could not get any of their nine second-half shots past the Aztec's goalkeeper, and in the 75th minute SDSU scored the game-winning goal, ending the match 3-2.
The Pilots had over a week of rest prior to the game and head coach Garrett Smith took it as an opportunity to regroup.
"We got some training behind us," Smith said. "We got back into working on some defense and tried to get back into some habits."
Conference play begins next week for the Pilots and the women are looking forward to playing the tough teams they know in the WCC.
"We play them every year and every team has a different history and meaning," Smith said.
The team hopes to use their non-conference loses as a learning experience so they know how to play together and be the most effective at scoring.
"We need to focus on playing our own game rather than letting them bring it to us," sophomore midfielder Emily Sippel said. "Just play possession soccer and bring the energy the rest of the season."
To be eligible to make the playoffs, a goal of the team, they need to stay above .500 by winning at least four of the eight conference games. Smith realizes the competitive conference they are in but he is looking even higher than .500.
"At the end of the day we want to go 8-0, get the highest bid, and get the highest rank in the playoffs that we can. That's the goal," Smith said.
The Pilots take on rival Gonzaga in Spokane on Thursday, Oct. 11. The Bulldogs have one game of conference play already in the books, a loss on Oct. 7 to St. Mary's. The Pilots next home game is Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. against the BYU Cougars.
Women's soccer wins Spirit of Portland Award
UP women's soccer was among 18 other recipients who "have helped make Portland a better place" according a coalition of city groups. The women's soccer team was recognized for its fundraising and community service with the Ronald McDonald House Charity as well as other volunteer efforts and dedication to many local non-profits and charaties. The women's soccer team also helped support Harper's Playground, a new playground in Arbor Lodge Park (located less than two miles from the UP campus).