Women’s soccer prevails in overtime, advances to second round of NCAA tournament

In the first round of the NCAA Division II women’s soccer tournament, the Mountain Lions’ women’s soccer squad defeated third-ranked Angelo State University in 110 minutes on Nov. 11.

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Makayla Merlo and sophomore forward Jadyn Ledoux broke open a tie game in overtime to defeat the Rambelles 3-1.

The first half was a shot-filled affair with neither team finding the back of the net despite seven shots by the Mountain Lions and two from Angelo State. Sophomore midfielders Fie Steenberg and Kelsey Takahashi both recorded a shot on goal, but neither got past the Rambelles goalkeeper.

Starting the second half, the Mountain Lions made quick work against the Angelo State defense and, after Ledoux’s shot was blocked inside the box, Steenberg managed to secure the rebound and draw a foul, resulting in a tiebreaking penalty kick that put UCCS ahead, 1-0.

The Rambelles were nearly held off in the closing 45 minutes, with Mountain Lions defenders Jade Kinsey and Makenna Fowler keeping Angelo State outside scoring range.

However, in the 87th minute, ASU forward Mia Czarnecki took a shot from just outside the box towards the far post, where goalkeeper Alexis Walker couldn’t get to it. The equalizing goal brought the match to 1-1, which was maintained through regulation.

In the first period of overtime, UCCS pestered the Rambelles’ backline, taking four shots on Angelo State’s goalkeeper, including three on goal.

In the second period, Ledoux, redshirt junior forward Kaitlin Hinkle and Merlo connected a pair of beautiful passes that ended with Merlo firing a shot right into the top right corner of the net, giving UCCS a 2-1 advantage in the 104th minute.

Right from kickoff, the Mountain Lions found their way down the field once again and, after a through ball from redshirt senior midfielder Fabiola Estrada found Ledoux, she worked past three Angelo State defenders and netted her second goal of the match, killing the Rambelles’ tournament dreams with a 3-1 lead.

UCCS held off Angelo State for the remaining five minutes of the match, taking the win and putting the Mountain Lions into the second round of the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in program history.

Merlo’s goal, as well as Ledoux’s finish in the early second half, were both the 15th goals for the UCCS women’s soccer veterans, placing them tied for 10th on the program leaderboard for all time goals. Redshirt junior Zoe Sims, Kinsey and Merlo played all 110 minutes of the marathon match.

#6 seed UCCS advances to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament and are scheduled to face #2 seed Colorado School of Mines for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. in Golden.

Photo from gomountainlions.com.