Cinderella Point Loma dances into NAIA finals
Lee advances with shutout victory
By Cody Whitlock, Sports Writer, The Decatur Daily
Point Loma Nazarene’s Cinderella run in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championships continued the same way it began.
Two days after knocking off No. 1 Lindsey Wilson College, the unseeded Sea Lions defeated Azusa Pacific (Calif.) in a shootout in Friday’s semifinals at the Jack Allen Soccer Complex.
The score is officially recorded as a 0-0 tie, but Point Loma of San Diego, Calif., — the only unseeded team in the 16-team field in Decatur — made its first two penalty kicks to advance to Saturday’s championship match against Lee (Tenn.) at 7 p.m.
“We play in a very tough conference, but for us to come into the national tournament as the only unseeded team is totally Cinderella,” Point Loma head coach Tim Hall said with a big grin. “We endorse that, and we’re totally OK with that.”
Tommie Graham and Lauren Hernandez scored on penalty kicks for Point Loma, while goalkeeper Tiffany Kracy stopped two Azusa Pacific shots and watched another attempt sail wide left.
The Lady Sea Lions (15-4-4) defeated Azusa Pacific in a shootout in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament Nov. 6 to advance to the national tournament.
Kracy finished with five saves, including a diving stop with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
“She’s been doing it all year. She was our all-conference goalkeeper as a freshman,” Hall said. “In the women’s game, the keeper is big, and I think she’s the best in the country.”
Azusa Pacific’s Natalie Sun hit the post with 4:29 remaining in regulation, as the Lady Cougars were more aggressive in the second period.
Azusa Pacific (17-3-2) had four shots on goal after managing only one in the first 45 minutes.
“They hit the post a couple of times. It didn’t go in, but I think they had more opportunities than we did,” Hall said. “The soccer gods are smiling on us a little bit.”
Hall, whose team has played three matches in the past four days, said fatigue could be a concern for the championship match after playing a two-overtime contest Friday.
“The adrenaline and the emotion will carry us through, though,” he said. “The thing about these girls is that they just find a way to fight. They never ever quit.
“There are times when we’ve had teams coming at us, but then we find a way to go at them and find a way to stay in the game. They just don’t quit. It’s unbelievable.”
Lee (Tenn.) 1, Concordia (Ore.) 0: Defending champion Lee (20-2-1) advanced to the title match for the third time in the last five years with a victory over Concordia (21-3).
Jamie Achten kicked in the first period’s lone goal in the 33rd minute off a rebound after Christian Christensen’s shot hit the post. Christensen got off seven shots, but only one was a shot on goal. Lee goalkeeper Leah Wilson finished with seven saves to record the shutout.
Concordia’s Georgia Christensen had five saves. Concordia’s closest chance at a goal came in the 28th minute when Jessica Ramback missed off the post.
NAIA Women’s Soccer
All games are at Jack Allen?Soccer Complex in Decatur.
Point Loma 0, Azusa Pacific 0, Loma wins 2-0 in shootout.
Lee 1, Concordia 0
Point Loma (15-4, 4) vs. Lee (20-2-1), 7 p.m.