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de Seriere comes in handy

UCI goalkeeper makes two saves with her fist and punches a corner kick to assist on winning goal.

August 21, 2010|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com
  • Idaho's Chelsea Small (14) falls as she tries to steal the ball from UC Irvine's Mar Rodriguez (15) during Friday's game at UCI.
Idaho's Chelsea Small (14) falls as she tries to… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

IRVINE — In its effort to get off on the right foot Friday night, the UC Irvine women's soccer team relied heavily on the timely contributions of a fist.

Senior goalkeeper Danielle de Seriere supplied the necessary punch to propel the host Anteaters to a 2-1 victory in the nonconference season opener in front of a crowd of 810 at Anteater Stadium.

The veteran keeper leaped to punch away two would-be goals, including a potential equalizer in the final minute. And though denied her 21st career shutout when the Vandals cut the deficit in half with a nifty connection in the 60th minute, de Seriere's four saves were only a portion of the difference made by her right fist.

She also threw her knuckles into a bending corner kick to earn her second career assist on what turned out to be the winning goal in the 40th minute. The punch directed the bounding ball up the center of the field. Before it reached midfield, junior Alexis Rafael — just as she had in several spring training sessions with de Seriere — fielded it on the run.

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Idaho goalie Liz Boyden charged out to try to thwart the breakaway, but Rafael sidestepped her and nailed the ball into an open net from about 40 yards in front.

Rafael's tally, the first of her career, put the hosts up, 2-0.

"I knew on the corner kick that I had to come out and punch it out," de Seriere said. "As a keeper, you have to be quick off your line. I'll add that assist to the one I got last year. That's our little partnership between Alexis and I, because we worked out together last spring.

"When you're in traffic, you definitely want to punch [the ball] out. If you get hit, the ball is out of your hands. That first save, I was a little nervous about it. But I kept my feet moving and I was able to get to it."

Perhaps de Seriere came in most handy for the Anteaters in the final minute, when she backpedalled to her left, jumped and punched an arcing shot just over the crossbar to protect the lead.

"On the last save there, you have to come up clutch in the end," de Seriere said. "If they would have scored there, it would have been tied and gone into overtime."

UCI, which posted a 13-7 advantage in shots, wasted little time applying offensive pressure.

Just 40 seconds in, sophomore Devon Delarosa, who ranks third on the list of the top scorers back from last year's squad, blasted a shot from about 20 yards in front that forced Boyden to make a diving save.

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