Regals Soccer Wins Semifinal Game, Now Headed to NCAA Tournament

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Regals Soccer Wins Semifinal Game, Now Headed to NCAA Tournament

First-year forward Isabella Veljacic goes after the ball against Chapman senior defender Faith Holloway during the SCIAC semifinal game on Thursday, Nov. 7.

First-year forward Isabella Veljacic goes after the ball against Chapman senior defender Faith Holloway during the SCIAC semifinal game on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Isaiah Volk

First-year forward Isabella Veljacic goes after the ball against Chapman senior defender Faith Holloway during the SCIAC semifinal game on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Isaiah Volk

Isaiah Volk

First-year forward Isabella Veljacic goes after the ball against Chapman senior defender Faith Holloway during the SCIAC semifinal game on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Isaiah Volk, Reporter

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While California Lutheran University’s women’s soccer ultimately lost to No. 3 nationally ranked Pomona-Pitzer in its conference championship game on Saturday, Nov. 9, the Regals walked away with a 1-0 overtime victory against the Chapman Panthers on Thursday, Nov. 7.

“We just kept pushing and playing for each other, and at the end of the day, our results showed that we wanted it more than them,” junior forward Alexandra Fagerberg said.

On Thursday, the Regals came out of the gate strong, providing offensive pressure that led to eight fouls called on the Panthers by the head referee in the first half. However, the Regals were only able to get off two shots in the first half, equaling the Panthers’ two shots, displaying the quality defense being played by both teams.

Two of the shots by the Regals even hit the crossbar, which electrified the crowd even further.

As the second half began, the Regals increased their offensive pressure, creating more opportunities for goals.

“I think they [the Panthers] are very physical. They are on you a lot. They expend a lot of energy defending right, so I felt as the game wore on they got a little bit tired. They don’t sub a lot,” Head Coach Frank Marino said. “I think it was one of those games where we kind of wore them down and the chances started to come later in the game because we wore them down, so I am really pleased.”

Junior goalkeeper Gabby Flores made four key saves, pushing the Regals and Panthers into extra time with a score of 0-0.

As extra time in SCIAC is “golden goal,” meaning the first goal wins, the pressure was on for both teams as their 2019 seasons were on the line.

In the first minute of extra time, first-year midfielder Janelle Gutierrez scored the game-winning goal, sending her and the Regals into the championship.

“It was sort of like a drill we do at practice called hammer, and so we usually walk up to the net and poke it in, so that’s what I was thinking right there in that moment,” Gutierrez said.

Adding another goal to Gutierrez’ first-year campaign marks her third of the season. Fagerberg provided the assist from the right side of the goal box, allowing Gutierrez to loft the ball into the right corner of the net.

“I was going to shoot it. It ricocheted, and then I was going to shoot it again, but then I saw Janelle [Gutierrez] wide open so I just slipped her. She had great composure to finish,” Fagerberg said.

As the game ended, Marino said the execution by Fagerberg and Gutierrez was strong and gave them confidence and momentum going into the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game.

“That was a first class goal to win the game. [Alexandra Fagerberg], A, to get the ball blocked and keep her composure and beat the layer, and then slip it into Janelle [Gutierrez]. Janelle’s finish was class as well. That’s how you want to win a game. You want to win a game with a great goal, and we won the game with a great goal,” Marino said.

The Regals will now play University of California Santa Cruz in the first round of the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Soccer Championship on Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. at William Rolland Stadium.