Raiders win PK shootout, advance to CCC semis
SPRINGFIELD — If there was any doubt left about the Southern Oregon University women's soccer team's ability to perform in the clutch, it was put to bed for good Wednesday night. The Raiders are headed to the Cascade Conference semifinals.
The fifth-seeded Raiders' improbable late-season heroics followed them to penalty kicks after 110 scoreless minutes against fourth-seeded Rocky Mountain at Willamalane Park. After four perfect rounds of kicks by both teams, Lauren Aldana buried SOU's fifth attempt and Kylie Moltzen put a cherry on top of her record-breaking shutout by stopping Rocky's to complete the quarterfinal upset.
It was SOU's first-ever shootout victory.
The Raiders (8-8-3 overall) will play at 7 p.m. today against an opponent yet to be determined, as the field will be re-seeded upon the completion of Wednesday's action to pit the highest remaining seed against the lowest remaining seed. At press time, third-seeded Eastern Oregon's 3-0 win over Northwest was the only other completed game.
Rocky, which defeated SOU 2-1 on Sept. 13 in Billings, Mont., finished with a record of 10-5-3.
The Raiders had an all-time CCC tournament record of 2-9-1 entering the night and were eliminated by penalty kicks in last year's quarterfinals at Corban. They're back in the semifinals for second time in three seasons and will attempt to advance to their first-ever title game.
SOU's defense forced Moltzen to make only one save for the shutout, which gave her 14 ½ shutouts for her career – breaking the SOU record of 14 previously established by Jessica Kuehlwein. The Bears only got off six shots for the game (compared to SOU's 12) and weren't given room for any in overtime.
Before Aldana's capper, the Raiders got converted PKs from Megan Smith, Kylie Durant, Allyson Ward and Makena Totushek. In the 108th minute, Totushek nearly ended the contest with a strong shot that bounced off the post and off.
Rocky's made PKs were courtesy of Ashley Flanigan, Gabi Heflin, Mikale Miller and Chez Keehn. But Moltzen guessed right on Alex Harvey's kick, taking a couple preemptive steps to her right and watching the ball line right into her hands.
Until a month ago, the Raiders had been winless in nine straight games that required overtime. They won their last two before celebrating again Wednesday. They also started the season with four straight losses in games that were decided by one goal before winning five of their next six in that category.
SOU put four shots on goal. Lisa Elledge had two of them.
The Raiders have shut out six opponents this season, including five of their last 10.