No. 9 Cal Lutheran Attains SCIAC Perfection
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A 2-1 overtime victory over Occidental on Saturday night secured a perfect conference regular season and program record 19th win this season.
Box Score: CLU 2, OXY 1 - F/OT
Nicole Rains provided the game-winning goal with the first shot attempt of extra time. It is the second straight match the Regals have won in overtime following Wednesday's 1-0 home win over Pomona-Pitzer.
"We are very excited and I am proud of our players," said third year Head Coach Frank Marino. "We knew it would be tough to replicate what we accomplished last year...our girls put in the work in the offseason and throughout this season."
Last year's Cal Lutheran squad set the program record with 18 victories en route to a SCIAC title. The 2011 team ran the table in conference play winning all 12 of its regular season matches and 19 of its 20 overall matches during the regular season. The team's lone loss was a 2-0 defeat at Hardin-Simmons, the defending NCAA National Champions.
It was not easy down the stretch as CLU had already clinched a conference title and the top seed for the conference post-season tournament with three SCIAC games left in the regular season. Each of their next three opponents played them much tougher the second time through including a pair of overtime matches against Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental to close out the season.
"The way we have been able to win these last few games shows a lot about this team...it is important for us to win the tough ones and I think our comeback victory tonight is an example of this group's character and resolve."
Cal Lutheran had allowed only two goals in 11 conference games heading into Saturday night's contest. A defensive miscue allowed OXY's Whitney Roline to find Elissa Minamishin for the opening goal about 20 minutes after the opening whistle.
After conceding the score the Cal Lutheran defense allowed the Tigers to take just two off-target shot attempts over the final 73 minutes.
CLU trailed by a one goal margin for over an hour of game time before freshman Taylor Will fed a pass to spark a counterattack scoring opportunity that was finished off by Kristina Hulse in the 83rd minute.
Sinead Vaughan and Lindsay Armenta had game-winning goal chances in the final minutes of regulation but OXY net minder Taylor Renshaw made two of her six saves to force overtime.
At the 92:41 mark Rains cemented the 2011 squad as the seventh Regals team in program history to have an unblemished record without any conference losses or draws.
Cal Lutheran (19-1-0, 12-0-0 SCIAC) will host its SCIAC Post-Season Tournament semifinal contest on Thursday, Nov. 3, against Redlands. The Regals won by 1-0 and 3-0 margins during the regular season and are hoping to avenge a semifinal exit courtesy of the Bulldogs during last year's semifinals.