SAN DIEGO, Calif. --- The fourth-seeded Anteaters slugged it out with Loyola Marymount in a defensive struggle coming away with an 8-6 win to send the Anteaters into the semifinals at the Aztec Aquaplex in San Diego Friday evening.
The squads traded possessions early before Danielle Warde struck from the deep into the far corner for the game's first goal. Kelsey Klatt added a second goal a couple minutes later with a changeup on the power play to put UCI up 2-0. Jillian Yocum made a huge save with a man down. A crazy run up and down the pool led to no scores until UCI settled the game down as Hannah Croghan buried a shot from deep to make it 3-0 and force an LMU timeout.
Erin Manke would respond for the Lions to close the gap to 3-1. Teams would foul back and forth before another scramble gave UCI the ball, but was forced to call a timeout with 43 seconds left in the period.
LMU would return from the timeout and fire a wicked backhand off the crossbar. Katie Croghan's shot as the period ended would be saved as UCI held a 3-1 lead.
Jessy Cardey's shot on the power play would be stopped to open the second quarter. Yocum would stop a point blank shot. Cardey would respond the next time down set up nicely to put away the fourth goal. Cardey's goal was also her 68th of the season setting a new single-season record for UCI. LMU's Kim Benedetti snuck one up and over Yocum a few minutes later to close it to 4-2. Annika Bergesen would throw up a nifty lob shot goal to stretch the lead halfway through the period.
LMU would come back with another goal on the next possession. The 'Eaters drove down with a nice play, but the pass was broken up. LMU's next possession was field blocked and settled by Yocum. She knocked a second down with the help of her face. Hillary Estrada's shot barred out to the Lions. They would get the ball in center forward, but Yocum was there again. A critical steal by LMU followed by an exclusion by Kelsey Klatt would lead to an LMU goal by Mackenzie Beck to close the gap to one goal with 45 seconds left in the half. UCI would get a huge backhand goal from Michaela Pierandozzi. Taylor Morrison had one final shot in the waning seconds, but it was deflected wide and UCI would take a 6-4 lead into the half.
A lob shot to start the half from Katie Croghan went high. LMU scored in its first possession on an offspeed shot that found a way past Yocum. LMU would go on the power play with a chance to tie it up, but a field block by Katie Croghan would keep the lead for UCI. Cardey would take advantage of a powerplay with a two-skip blast through keeper Elise Ponce to regain the two-goal lead. Yocum made another big-time save on a blast from Whitney Delgado. LMU’s next shot was a crazy skip shot that barred back out. UCI had a pair of shots on its end, but a pair of saves by Ponce kept the Anteaters out of the cage.
Alexandra Honny snuck one by Yocum on a skip shot after a near-steal attempt by Warde. Hannah Croghan gave UCI a little breathing room with a changeup into the far corner to make it 8-6. Yocum swatted another shot down. LMU almost snuck another lob in, but the bar would come to Yocum’s aid.
After a timeout, UCI had a huge opportunity to score on the power play, but would get nothing. UCI defense would hold to close out the quarter with the 8-6 lead.
Cardey’s hard shot to open the period would be knocked down. Yocum would respond with a huge save on a shot from the point that was corralled by the ‘Eaters. Another Anteater power play would go by with a wide shot from Cardey. UCI came up with a huge play. Yocum would smother a shot as LMU had a two-man advantage to keep the score at 8-6. UCI attempted a one-timer on the next possession, but it was just out of reach.
LMU would regain a possession following a timeout. The UCI defense upped the pressure and forced a turnover on an entry pass. Cardey had another chance to stretch the lead, but her blast barred out again. LMU went on the power play again, but Yocum continue to stand tall with another save. UCI went back on the power play, but Katie Croghan’s shot was knocked down. Erin Manke put a good shot on net, but Yocum threw a paw up at the last minute to deflect it high. LMU got the ball back after a terrible turnover as Katie Croghan lost the handle Honny’s shot would luckily go wide as UCI would get the ball back and earn a power play.
After an Anteater timeout, UCI went on the attack, but another Cardey shot would bar out. LMU would counter with a timeout, and respond with a errant shot. UCI would run the clock down to 1:05 before LMU got the ball back. A huge center shot by LMU would be defended by Estrada. UCI would run the clock down and fire a wild shot off the bar. The scramble for the ball would give UCI a penalty shot. Cardey would get stopped on that one as well giving LMU the ball with 19 seconds left. LMU whipped another center shot in, but it would be deflected on its way to Yocum. UCI would close out the match for the 8-6 win.
The 'Eaters win their first-ever first round match in the NCAA Tournament to send them into the winner's bracket against top-seeded Stanford in a 3:30 p.m. match Sat. May 12th. UCI improves to 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament and 25-6 on the season.
UCI goals (season total): Hannah Croghan - 2 (49), Jessy Cardey - 2 (68), Michaela Pierandozzi - 1 (26), Annika Bergesen - 1 (21), Danielle Warde - 1 (37), Kelsey Klatt - 1 (32)
LMU goals: Erin Manke - 2, Kimberly Benedetti - 2, Mackenzie Beck - 1, Alexandra Honny - 1
UCI saves (season total): Jillian Yocum - 13 (177)
LMU saves: Elise Ponce - 9